The Impact of Fluoride on Dental Health

The Impact of Fluoride on Dental Health
Posted on 09/14/2016

Regulatory bodies that monitor our health and safety agree that the use of fluoride is beneficial for our population.  Fluoride has been proven to strengthen tooth enamel and reduce the incidence of decay.  Many natural water sources and foods contain fluoride but usually at lower levels than the therapeutic dose.


How Does Fluoride Work?

When fluoride binds with tooth enamel, it's cellular matrix is changed. This new matrix is harder and more resilient than before. The result is tooth enamel that is less prone to decay.
It is worth mentioning that most fluoride that is ingested becomes a part of the matrix of the bones of the body. Which is why fluoride is also applied to teeth directly in tooth paste. Tooth paste increases fluoride uptake to enamel to achieve the desired effect.

Successful Public Health Measures

Optimal levels of fluoride in drinking water have been proven to significantly decrease the occurence of decay in a population. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the measure to be one of the ten greatest public health achievements of the twentieth century. Think of it like the addition of iodine to table salt for thyroid health.


When Is It Safe To Use Fluoridated Toothpaste?

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), you may use a fluoride tooth paste as soon as your child has teeth. The appropriate amount for an infant or toddler who cannot reliably spit the paste out is equivalent to the size of a grain of rice. This amount is beneficial to teeth and not harmful if swallowed.


In-Office Topical Fluoride Treatment

Why do we recommend a fluoride treatment following a dental cleaning? Cleaning the teeth with abrasives and instruments removes deposit from tooth surfaces but it also opens the pores in tooth enamel. This provides an opportunity for optimal fluoride uptake at an increased concentration. Appropriate oral hygiene measures along with therapeutic levels of fluoride can actually reverse some demineralization before it can progress to frank decay.
Did you know that the first line of treatment for dental hypersensitivity is to increase topical fluoride levels?


Resources for more information: