It is a natural element found in the earth’s crust and is widely distributed in nature. Some food and water supplies contain fluoride.
Often, fluoride is added to drinking water as a reducing element cavities. In the early 30’s, researchers found that people who drank naturally fluoridated water showed a smaller number of cavities (two thirds) than those living in non-fluoridated water areas. Studies have repeatedly shown that if fluoride is added to the water tanks of the community, the number of cavities in the population decreases. The ADA (American Dental Association), the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association, among others, have recommended the use of fluoride in the water tanks because of its effect against caries.
How to fluoride works
Fluoride prevents against cavities in two ways:
- It focuses on bones and developing teeth of children and strengthens tooth enamel babies and adults before they erupt.
- Helps harden tooth enamel adults who have already erupted.
Work on demineralization and remineralizationprocesses that naturally occurs in the mouth.
- A solution of calcium and phosphorus beneath the tooth surface after eating acids that cause demineralization occur.
- At other times the exact opposite occurs, saliva helps replenish the calcium and phosphorus to maintain the strength of the teeth. This process is called remineralization. When fluoride is present in remineralization, the deposited minerals are harder and help strengthen your teeth and prevent solution that would occur in the next phase of demineralization.
How do I know if the level of fluoride ingested is enough?
If drinking water in your area is fluoridated, regular brushing with fluoridated toothpaste is enough for children and adults with healthy teeth and low susceptibility to caries.
If your water is not fluoridated community and does not have enough fluoride naturally (the optimal value is one part per million), your dentist or pediatrician prescribe fluoride tablets or drops for children to take daily. Your dentist can tell you the right amount of fluoride to your family, therefore, ask about it and he will advise you.
If your water comes from public deposits, call local authorities to find out if water is fluoridated. If it comes from a private well, call an independent company that provides water testing services and have it analyzed.