Discussing the Good and Bad of Fluoride with Your Richmond Dentist

Sep 10th, 2012 | By | Category: Oral Hygiene, Preventive Dentistry

Richmond DentistThese days, you may hear the word fluoride quite a bit. It is plastered across the packaging of various dental hygiene products, mainly toothpaste, and your dentist may have mentioned its benefits for helping you fight tooth decay. Most notoriously, fluoride is famous for its implementation in numerous municipal water supplies across America. Public-water fluoridation is also the subject of some debate, and you may have heard the term during one of many discussions concerning the dangers that excessive fluoride purportedly poses. Dr. Stefan Moiceanu, your Richmond, CA, dentist, explores the good and the bad side of fluoride.

The Good

Tooth decay is one of the most common afflictions in America, affecting nearly 90% of American adults and more than half of school-aged children. Your tooth’s natural protection, a strong outer-layer of tissue called tooth enamel, is usually the first victim when tooth decay sets in. Acids, either found naturally in your food and beverages or produced by the bacteria in your mouth, attack and weaken your tooth enamel, as well as siphon essential minerals from your teeth (demineralization, the first stage of tooth decay). Because your enamel is comprised of minerals, mainly calcium and phosphate, it can strengthen itself when weakened by absorbing more minerals. Fluoride, which also contributes to enamel formation, helps rebuild and strengthen enamel to help you ward off tooth decay.

The Bad

The debate over fluoride is not necessarily over its use in general, but rather a disagreement over the wisdom of treating community water supplies with the mineral. While teeth are still developing in a child’s mouth, over-consumption of fluoride can lead to spotted, pitted, or stained tooth enamel (a condition known as fluorosis). Once the teeth have erupted, this condition is no longer a concern. However, considering the commonality of fluoride in toothpaste, and the fact that many dentists offer topical fluoride treatment as a preventive measure to protect against cavities, many people feel water fluoridation is an unnecessary risk.

To help avoid misuse and over-concentration of fluoride, be careful not to allow your child to swallow toothpaste while brushing his/her teeth. If you are concerned about your community’s water-fluoridation, you can call the local water department and/or health department to evaluate the fluoride level in your local drinking reservoir. To learn more about tooth decay prevention, or to schedule a consultation, contact Dr. Moiceanu at our Richmond, CA dentist office by calling 510-758-7222. Located in Richmond, we proudly serve families from Berkeley, San Pablo, Pinole, Benicia, Vallejo, and the surrounding communities.

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