Fluoride & Fluorosis

Fluoride is a natural mineral that is put into some toothpastes because it is believed that it will help prevent tooth decay. This mineral helps remineralize the enamel layer while other minerals try to demineralize the enamel of the tooth which causes tooth decay.

Nowadays in the United States as well as other countries such as Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland, put fluoride in their drinking water at certain levels to help prevent oral disease and decay. This is an inexpensive treatment that the American Dental Association advocates because it is effective and it is preventative.

You might have read an article about how fluoride can be a bad thing or even seen the warning label on the side of a tube of toothpaste that states “If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately.” According to the American Dental Association, which claims they prevent disease more than any other health profession, fluoride toothpastes cannot cause problems due to the fact that a human cannot absorb a large enough amount to harm. Fluoride is to prevent oral health problems. It has a lot more benefits than it does negative effects even though people believe it can do a lot of harm. Children may have a problem named enamel fluorosis, if they have received too much fluoride while their teeth are still developing.  It is true that unreasonable ingestion of fluoride as a child may harm the cells that help teeth form. If a child has ingested a large amount, discoloration of teeth will be visible. The discoloration varies from white to black spots. A misconception about fluoride is that it helps children more than adults. It helps them both equally. Children just have a lot more opportunity to prevent problems than adults do.

Arizona and 18 other states participate in community water fluoridation. Water fluoridation is when the public water supply has fluoride added to the tap water so that the citizens can help prevent tooth decay just by having a glass of water. Bottled water and water filters remove the fluoride which does not help the drinker prevent any tooth decay. On average, it costs a U.S. citizen less than dollar a year to add this to the water, when it could cost them hundreds or thousands of dollars in dentist bills if they were not drinking this fluoridated water that helps prevent oral health problems.


 Definitions relating to Fluoride & Fluorosis

Demineralization:  when minerals are removed or lost

Fluorisis:  tooth discoloration caused by too much intake of flouride

Remineralize:  to process of replacing minerals that have been lost or depleted


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