All About Fluoride

Fluoride is a mineral found naturally in water and soil that helps to build the enamel on teeth which protects them from decay. Children should be exposed to fluoride while they are young and their tooth enamel is being formed. If your water supply is lacking fluoride, see a dentist for regular fluoride treatments.

What is fluoride and what are the benefits of fluoride when it comes to dental health?

Simona Amin: All right, well fluoride is basically a mineral that is found naturally in the earth’s crust and water sources. It’s also found in the teeth and bones and widely distributed in the atmosphere. So, it’s in the air, it’s in the soil, it’s in the sand.

The benefits that it has for dental health, is that it tends to re-mineralize decay or the demineralization of the enamel. So, when the enamel softens, it tends to have these crystallized benefits that re-mineralizes the enamel that prevents decay or reverses decay.

Why is it more important for children to be exposed to fluoride than adults?

Simona Amin: Children, when it comes to a developmental age where children develop teeth underneath their gums, it’s very important to have that supply where the enamel is able to produce itself and remain as strong as it should be. For adults, depending on what the fluoride level, the optimal level of their state is, so that really differs from state to state. But children definitely benefit more than adults at this point for fluoride and the strength of their bones and their enamel.

Is it standard procedure for dentists to provide fluoride treatments to all children? And how often should a child be getting these treatments and what is involved?

Simona Amin: Okay, so it’s definitely a standard treatment, but not all children are required to have fluoride. I will tell you why. Because fluoride differs from state to state, depending on if you do have fluoridated water in your state. So, if there’s a high optimal level of fluoridated water in a specific state, the dentists or the pediatricians are not required to write a prescription for children or even give extra fluoride because it’s already present in the water supply.

That’s like drinking water, and that’s in their food as well. If they’re brushing their teeth, they rinse with it. So, it’s everywhere so they don’t require additional supply of fluoride. But if there’s states where, in New Jersey for example, the optimal level is less than 1 PPM, which is parts per million, that’s the level that requires pediatricians and dentists to provide more fluoride, because we don’t have enough. And that tends to be effective when it to the development of the enamel and how strong it is.

In what forms is fluoride available to a consumer at home and how can people know if they are getting enough fluoride in their tap water?

Simona Amin: Okay, so there are many forms available over the counter that can safely be used. Of course, after reading the instructions. The fluoride supplies are rinses and they’re actually present in most toothpastes and there’s self-applied gels that you can actually put yourself, which is also helpful for sensitive teeth.

And of course, there’s community water for those who live in areas that provide a source of natural water fluoridation. However, the areas that do not have fluoridated water, have the alternative of taking supplement tablets or drops usually prescribed to children who have high risk carries.

Too much fluoride that is supplied systemically, which is ingested, is not good. So, we have to have a knowledge, a general knowledge of how much fluoride is present in our water, and it differs from state to state. So, depending on the level and the state where you are it definitely differs.

RC: Right, so you could just get a report from your city or town of what levels are in your water, and you would know that way.

Simona Amin: Correct. From the water system or you can actually check online. Every health provider has an idea of what they should provide for their patients. So that’s also important to take into consideration.

Do you recommend that people take fluoride supplements? I guess we sort of touched on that with, it depends if you have it in your water.

Simona Amin: Correct.

What supplements would you recommend? Just anything at the drug store or would you get them from your dentist?

Simona Amin: Every six months we normally have a standard procedure where we apply a fluoride to our patients only because it’s really good for sensitivity, it’s good for antimicrobial agents, it works for re-mineralizing decay. So, there’s a lot of benefits when it comes to fluoride. So, we take that as, based on evidenced research that people actually spend so much time researching and making sure that it is effective to our well being.

So, I do recommend that we supply fluoride topically, not so much systemically, only because everybody’s different. For children, in the states of New Jersey and New York, since we don’t have fluoridated water, in the natural water supply, we do tend to prescribe drops that take care of the fluoride that is needed daily in the patient’s routine.

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