Ever wondered why water you drink contains fluorides added to them? Why does your dentist persistently advice you to use a fluoridated toothpaste? We’ll answer your questions on fluorides in these blogs:
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is the simplest anionic form of fluorine – a mineral abundantly found in the earth’s crust. It is found in trace quantities in rocks, soil and water. Numerous studies for assessing the benefits of fluorides on teeth have found that water fluoridation reduces the incidence of cavities by almost two-thirds. The American Dental Association and World Health Organisation have endorsed the fluoridation of water for its benefits on tooth decay.
How does it work?
Fluorides have a two-pronged effect on the body:
- Systemic fluoride – These are ingested through food and water. Fluorides get absorbed via the gastrointestinal tract and get distributed to the entire body through blood. They strengthen the tooth by getting deposited in the enamel (outermost layer) during its developmental stages. Fluorides are also detected in saliva, which wash the teeth continuously and help in reinforcing the tooth enamel.
- Topical fluorides – These are the ones found in your toothpaste, mouth rinses, gels and applied by the dentist in an oral hygiene appointment (when required). They act directly by penetrating deep into the enamel and aid in re-formation of the tooth structure.
Why are they beneficial for the teeth?
A tooth is composed of organic materials laid over a meshwork of inorganic components such as calcium and phosphorus. When the tooth is attacked by bacteria , the inorganic meshwork is destroyed and organic components are eliminated. Thus, pits and cavities are formed. Direct application of fluorides strengthens the inorganic meshwork and also promotes deposition of calcium and phosphorus on the tooth. Researchers have reported that re-mineralised enamel containing fluoride is more resistant to acid attack and stronger compared to the naturally formed enamel.
When do I or my child need fluoride?
Fluoride requirements are based on three factors: age, level of oral health and fluoride content in drinking water. For children below the age of 3 years, use of fluoridated toothpastes is not recommended. Young children tend to swallow toothpaste which can increase fluorides in the body, leading to a condition called dental fluorosis. Children aged between 3-6 years can be given fluoridated toothpaste but in small quantity (pea sized portions). Those aged between 6-16 years should visit the dentist every 6 months for topical fluoride varnish application. This treatment is also required if the child is at a high risk of tooth decay irrespective of age.
If you are living in a community or area with non-fluoridated water supply, dietary fluoride supplements are recommended by the American Dental Association and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. This is done to increase the child’s exposure to the levels of fluoride content available to people living in an optimal fluoridated area. For more information, ask your dentist if your child needs extra fluoride supplementation.
To know more about children’s dentistry, contact Green Meadow Dental, 3579 B Berlin Turnpike, Newington, CT 06111, (860)-865-0056.Families from Meriden find the easy drive to Newington well worthwhile because or our expertise and modern facilities, our friendly dental team and the relaxing disposition of Dr. Mukund. We also serve patients from areas like West Hartford, Berlin and Plainville.
Posted on behalf of
3579B Berlin Turnpike
Newington, CT 06111
Phone: (860) 865-0056
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