For over 40 years Fluoride has been a main source to help combat dental caries. Fluoride is not only a source to help combat dental caries but, also helps slow down the demineralization of the tooth and helps enhance the mineralization of the tooth. Fluoride has been released into the environment through both air and water, as it is the most abundant element on earth’s crust.
According to Santa Ana dentist, Dr. Kalantari, there are many ways of obtaining Fluoride – one is by prescription-strength which is applied at a dental office, another one is by nonprescription-strength which is obtained over the counter and can be used at home, and fluoridated water which can be found in both community water and bottled water. Fluoridated water has been used for over the years to help lower tooth decay among people whose water supply contained levels of Fluoride. Studies have shown that water containing fluoride helps re-mineralize the tooth. Two other ways are systemic fluoride and topical fluoride. Systemic fluoride which is very common is ingested by food, beverages, and supplements. When being ingested it is absorbed through the intestine which leads into the bloodstream and from there transported to any tissues that need it. Lastly, there is topical fluoride which is directly applied to the teeth through tooth paste or mouth rinses.
How does fluoride work? Fluoride works in two ways one is the pre-eruptive development and post-eruptive development. Pre-eruptive development is when tooth is not erupted if systemic fluoride is present it will help strengthen the enamel as is it developing. Sources of systemic fluoride: food and beverages and prescribed dietary fluoride supplements. Post-eruptive development is when tooth is fully erupted if the fluoride is still present it will continue to strengthen the enamel crystals and make it more acid resistant.
Having the right amount of fluoride helps prevent dental caries, however the excess of fluoride can result into dental fluorosis. Dental fluorosis is visible changes caused to the enamel surface of the tooth. These changes can vary from mild forms of staining to other severe forms. Dental fluorosis can also occur to pre-eruptive teeth when infants consume too much fluoride, over long periods of time. For this parents should be counseled on the results of the use of too much fluoride. However, fluoride used with moderation is a great source to combat dental caries as it has been proven since the 1930’s by dental researchers who showed that having natural fluoride present helps keep stronger and healthier teeth.