Fluoride has long split public opinion. Proponents advocate for its ability to keep cavities and tooth decay from wreaking havoc on your oral health. Opponents point to its discovery in the public water supply and consider it a harmful neurotoxin. Dentists are consistent proponents of fluoride for their patient’s oral health and utilize it during regular cleanings. Whether someone chooses to opt out of it at home is their prerogative, but if they don’t want it used during their dental visit, it’s important to discuss your concerns with your hygienist.
Too much fluoride, like anything, can cause dental fluorosis which can change the color of your enamel and specifically impact children ages eight years of age and younger. According to smiledentalcenterct.com, however, “research has shown that by adding fluoride to public water supplies, tooth decay-related conditions decline by 25 percent among adults and children.” Meaning two dental visits a year and drinking community water isn’t likely to cause harm. Though, it’s not recommended to give children fluoride toothpaste, as their risk of swallowing it is high. Once your child develops the motor skills to brush his or her teeth, and spit properly, they can begin using fluoride toothpaste at your discretion or the advice of their dentist.
It’s important to note, however, that your dentist may dissuade the use of fluoride toothpaste if you are allergic to it, or feel strongly about your concerns regarding the safety of its use. Fluoride-free formulas offer the same cleaning power and are recommended over not using toothpaste; the difference is that on average, fluoride formulas reduce the number of cavities and occurrence of tooth decay one may experience over their lifetime.
In general, trace amounts of fluoride in the drinking water work to improve the oral health of our communities and the use of fluoride toothpaste is safe for adults. The decision to use fluoride toothpaste lies with the individual, but he or she may need to take extra steps such as mouthwash and flossing to ensure they or receive the cavity-fighting benefits normally provided by fluoride formulas.
If you would like more information on teeth whitening, call Dr. Herd in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA at 949-858-5147 or visit www.gregherddds.com.
Dr. Greg J. Herd proudly serves Rancho Santa Margarita and all surrounding areas.