The medical community has had a love-hate relationship with fluoride over the decades, but the predominance of evidence does show that it is a crucial component in the fight against tooth decay in oral health. What do you need to know about fluoride and how should you ensure that you are "getting enough"?
Research and Proof
In the early 20th century, many experts thought that fluoride was harmful and a number of keynote studies set out to prove this to be the case. However, the opposite turned out to be true, as it was subsequently determined that a controlled amount of fluoride on a daily basis had significant health benefits, with very little side-effect.
There are two ways for people to get enough fluoride in their daily lives. Firstly, it should be included in measured amounts in the water that you drink and secondly it should be used in topical fashion (or in other words as part of the toothpaste that you buy).
How Fluoride Helps
A certain amount of fluoride is to be found in the body and is felt to be important in the development process before the teeth actually erupt. However, the majority of the benefit will come from an introduction of fluoride and its application to the tooth surface during brushing. In an ideal world, a precise amount of fluoride would be present at all times in order to help neutralise harmful acids that build up following the introduction of sugary foods, but in reality it's a constantly evolving process.
Fluoride that you get from drinking water is ingested into your system and will find its way into the make-up of your bones. As normal regeneration happens, a certain amount of this fluoride is then released into the bloodstream and the saliva in your mouth, which makes it available to defend tooth decay "at source." The fluoride that you introduce during brushing augments this process.
You do need to exercise a certain amount of caution when introducing the fluoride on your toothbrush, especially when it comes to younger children. Most adults know the ideal amount and don't "overload" the toothbrush, but children may think that more is better. It's a good idea, therefore, to supervise the amount that is put on, so that it is not inadvertently ingested. An accidental event now and again is not going to be harmful, but it shouldn't become a regular occurrence.
There is also another reason to regulate the amount of toothpaste that very young people introduce on their toothbrushes, as there is a small risk of fluorosis, which can affect the upper teeth in the front. This is generally mild, but can lead to some "mottling" on the enamel during formative years.
Establishing Your Routine
You should ensure that fluoride is an important part of your daily care routine and that you schedule visits to the dentist for the whole family on a regular basis. Should you have any questions about the correct amount of fluoride in your life, don't hesitate to ask the dentist for their advice too.Share