What Is Fluoride and Is It Safe?

fluirudeThere are various minerals found in the bones and teeth, such as fluoride. Fluoride can also be found in our natural surroundings, such as soil, air, rocks, water, and plants. In addition, it is found in various foods we eat such as grapes, oatmeal and seafood. Fluoride is a common mineral used in dentistry and helps strengthen enamel, the outer layer of the teeth. It plays an essential role in the prevention of cavities. In many countries, fluoride is added in small amounts to public water supplies. Over the years, it has been proven by scientific experts in public health that concentrations of fluoride in community water fluoridation has always been safe and effective in the prevention of tooth decay. If your main source of drinking water is well water, there is no fluoride added to the water supply.

Health Benefits and Possible Side Effects

Fluoride is an important part of dental health, usually used in mouthwash, toothpaste, and water supplies due to its capability of protecting the human teeth from decay, also known as dental caries.

However, excessive fluoride intake might lead to a serious medical situation. The effect fluoride has on a child or an old person depends on the level of exposure. When taken excessively, one is likely to get bone disease, known as skeletal fluorosis. This type of disease results in pain and damage to the joints and bones. In most cases, the bones become hard or less elastic, hence increasing the risk of fractures.

When young children take a large amount of fluoride in their early years when their teeth are forming, they are likely to get dental fluorosis. However, fluorosis in both children and the elderly might be mild that no treatment is needed. It may affect the hidden part of the teeth where it cannot be seen.

Below are the beneficial facts of fluoride:

Fluoride Is Essential In Strengthening Tooth Enamel

Enamel is a substance built on hydroxylapatite, the main calcium phosphate mineral that makes the bones and teeth. Unfortunately, acid-producing bacteria in our mouths are a constant threat to teeth’s infrastructure. Despite the constant attack, our bodies have a way of regenerating, rebuilding, and remineralizing weakened enamel. Sometimes, the regeneration process doesn’t go as expected or the acid attack is too great, leading to tooth decay. Fluoride is a natural cavity fighter due to its ability to join with calcium and phosphate in your saliva and create fluoroapatite, which is much stronger and more resistant to decay then hydroxylapatite.

Products available at North Point Dental Associates

In human health, fluoride is mainly used to improve dental hygiene. Fluoride can be easily found in many over-the-counter products such as mouth rinses and supplements. If you are at high risk for dental caries, your dentist might suggest using a prescribed mouth wash with fluoride components. At North Point Dental Associates we offer a range of fluoride and fluoride-free products, to help defend against dental decay and/or teeth sensitivity in whichever manner you are most comfortable. Below are some of the products offered:

PreviDent 5000 (Sensitive): Used to prevent cavities and reduce pain from dentinal hypersensitivity. Sodium fluoride works by making teeth more resistant to decay caused by acid and bacteria. Pottasium nitrate calms the nerves in the teeth. Available at our office or by prescription only.

PreviDent 5000 (Orth Defense): Used in orthodontic patients to help reverse white spot lesions and features an optimized fluoride delivery system that produces a temporary shift in pH resulting in an improved fluoride uptake and remineralization. Available at our office or by prescription only.

MI Paste Plus: Uses the active ingredient RECALDENT, a special milk-derived protein that has the ability to release bio-available calcium and phosphate to tooth surfaces. Available at our office or by prescription only.

D-Lish 5% Sodium fluoride varnish: Offers sensitivity relief and protection from dental caries. Offered in office at every cleaning visit. Contains 50 mg of sodium fluoride and is used for treatment of hypersensitive teeth and sealing the dentinal tubules on root surfaces.