It doesn’t take a certified oral surgeon in Mission Viejo CA to know about fluoride. This mineral is marketed on all kinds of dental hygiene products and is a common buzzword in dentist offices. Many patients have heard of fluoride; however, it can be easy to get lost in the conversation when conflicting information is given. Some have heard that fluoride is unnecessary or even harmful while others have heard that this mineral is beneficial to oral health. So, which is it?
According to a dentist in Laguna Niguel, fluoride is not an inherently harmful substance and does not create a significant risk to a patient’s health. In fact, it is an overwhelmingly positive resource for oral health, especially when preventing the development of cavities. Fluoride is an abundant resource that is naturally found in food, water, and soil. Dental hygiene products and drinking water are infused with a synthetic version of this mineral in order to promote oral health.
You may have heard of fluoride being used in mouthwashes, toothpaste, floss products, gels, varnishes, and fillings. The reason that fluoride is used to fortify these dental products is that it is known for its ability to prevent tooth decay. Your oral surgeon in Mission Viejo CA will tell you that fluoride can minimize overall tooth decay by about 20-40%, which in turn can significantly reduce the chances of developing cavities. The use of fluoride can prevent serious oral health issues and thus save a patient money and time from repairing damaged teeth.
So, how does fluoride work? Fluoride prevents tooth decay by changing the way enamel develops in children younger than seven. It actually makes their teeth more resistant to acid and ensures better quality enamel is developed. When fluoride is used on mature teeth, it reduces the ability of bacteria in plaque to create acid that will damage enamel. There are some risks to ingesting large amounts of fluoride; however, they are more of a cosmetic concern than a health concern. Excessive fluoride can cause streaks or white spots on teeth but these effects are temporary. When drinking water fortified with fluoride, health officials say moderation is key, like any other substance.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have their own standards for how much fluoride can be infused in drinking water. Generally, the United States follows directions from the CDC which are often stricter than international organizations like the World Health Organization. Most dental health professionals agree that the benefits of using fluoride for oral health far outweigh the risks. This is why you will often hear dentists recommend fluoride mouthwashes to their patients with weaker enamel.
If you are ever concerned about the use of fluoride in your dental treatment, be sure to speak to your oral hygienist and learn as much as you can about its effects on your oral health. Schedule an appointment with your oral care professional and see how you can integrate fluoride into your dental hygiene routine!