The presence of fluoride in drinking water has caused the creation of numerous conspiracy theories and some legitimate concerns about prolonged exposure, but the fact remains that this mineral is essential for maintaining proper oral hygiene. Fluoride is a mineral that can be applied in liquid form to the teeth of patients of all ages, resulting in stronger, healthier enamel and fewer cavities and decay. This article includes some of the most significant information you need to know about fluoride treatment and how it can affect your overall health and wellness as a patient.
The Benefits of Fluoride Treatment
The most prominent benefit of receiving regular fluoride treatment is decreasing your risk of tooth rot and decay. The teeth are composed of tissues that extend down through the gum and connect directly to the jawbone. These soft tissues are protected by a hard outer shell made of a substance called enamel. As people age, this enamel experiences numerous threats in the form of natural acids from food and drinks, as well as general weakening as a person grows older.
When someone eats, acid can wear away enamel, but another problem is plaque. Plaque is a sticky substance that clings to the teeth and slowly wears away the shell, causing holes called cavities that expose the soft inner tissue. Once exposed, bacteria can eat away at the tissues. This weakens the tooth and can cause pain and inflammation.
Sometimes cavities can be corrected by fillings. In serious cases, the dentist will need to scrape out the soft tissue and perform a root canal to reattach a tooth and make sure it stays connected to the jawbone. In the worst scenario, the tooth decays beyond the point of no return and needs to be extracted, causing permanent tooth loss.
To avoid all of these complications, fluoride is the ultimate solution. A basic treatment takes less than ten minutes and is a staple of pediatric dentistry as well as checkups for adults. The premise is that the fluoride redeposits necessary minerals, helping restore layers of enamel that were naturally lost over time. Teeth become stronger and healthier, just through a few minutes of work. After all, fluoride treatments are only needed once or twice a year but are just begun when a person is young and is already starting to experience issues like cavities.
The Risks of Using Fluoride
There are numerous urban legends and conspiracy theories surrounding fluoride, so it’s important, to be honest about the risks the mineral can pose. In short, small doses of fluoride do not pose any risk to humans. The main concern for people is that overexposure to fluoride during the early years of life can cause a condition called fluorosis.
Fluorosis is a cosmetic condition, meaning it does NOT harm people on an essential physical level. Instead, it can cause faint white lines or spots to appear on the teeth. These spots do not affect overall health and wellness but can make children self-conscious as they grow older. The best way to avoid developing fluorosis, because it is based on body weight, is not to allow children to use fluoride toothpaste.
Besides this minor condition, there are no significant risks to having treatment done, drinking water, or using special dental toothpaste. Fluoride does not kill brain cells nor does it cause cancer. It is just a mineral that has some benefit for the teeth.
As an average individual, you are not in danger of developing fluorosis just because you get treatment, use a special toothpaste, or drink tap water. All of the risks associated with fluoride are exacerbated by weight and preexisting health conditions, so the average adult is not putting themselves at risk by combining these three behaviors.
The only real issue is that children should not be given fluoridated toothpaste, as the concentration of the mineral is too strong for their low weight bodies. Do not be afraid to drink from the tap or get regular treatments. Your teeth will thank you in the long run.