drinking water fluoridation and childrens health page



Fluoride - Benefits to Teeth

Fluoride is an element that is found naturally in the Earth's crust. You can find fluoride in drinking water, toothpaste, mouthwashes, beverages and foods, and can be taken as a supplement. Why is fluoride good for our teeth?

Benefits of Fluoride

1. Promotes remineralization of the teeth.
Tooth decay is basically the result of acids caused by bacteria, breaking down the hard enamel on a tooth. This process is called demineralization. With the presence of fluoride in a persons saliva, the fluoride will attract other minerals such as calcium, which in turn, helps speed up the process of remineralization, (building back-up the tooth structure that was damaged due to decay).

This is why it is important to brush your teeth at least 3 times a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride, than brushing with a non-fluoridated toothpaste or only brushing once a day. Drinking tap water that contains fluoride is also better than drinking non-fluoridated bottled water.

2. Resistance to decay.
When the teeth begin to remineralize, basically repair themselves from the damage caused by tooth decay, the teeth are actually stronger than they were before. The compound that is formed during the remineralization process is much harder and more resistant to the acids that cause tooth decay.

3. Fluoride slows down the formation of acids that cause tooth decay.
Bacteria is a living organism, just like we are. When we eat and drink, we produce waste. So does bacteria. The waste that bacteria produces from eating sugars and starches, is an acid which eats away at the hard enamel on our teeth causing tooth decay. The presence of fluoride interferes with the bacteria's ability to process sugars and starches. As a result, less acid is produced.

Fluoride should be consumed and used in moderation. Fluoride found in public water is regularly monitored to ensure that the fluoride remains at a safe level. Whenever brushing your teeth with a toothpaste that contains fluoride, use a small amount of toothpaste, (about the size of green pea), and rinse and spit thoroughly. Choose a fluoride mouthwash, rinse, and toothpaste that is labeled with the American Dental Associations "Seal of Approval". Any product carrying this Seal means that the product has been tested and the fluoride content has been found to be at a safe and effective level. Consult with your dentist and/or physician before taking any fluoride supplements.

“The fact is that I started out as somewhat skeptical and cautious about fluoridation. But then I became a firm believer as proof was assembled by scientists that fluoridation of a water supply will reduce the production of tooth cavities (our most prevalent disease) by 60%, and, just as important, that no disease or defect is caused by this procedure. What particularly allayed my early doubts about adding a chemical to public water supplies was learning that fluoride has always occurred naturally in water supplies.” Dr. Benjamin Spock
childrens health and fluoride
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