In the world of dentistry, fluoride has been the best thing since sliced bread. We use fluoride in tooth strengthening supplements, toothpastes, mouthwashes, and possibly every dental hygiene product imaginable. In this blog, our Lake Forest dentist, Dr. James Fondriest, will explain why we think fluoride is so great and divulge some interesting information about this element.
Why Fluoride is Tooth Enamel’s Best Friend
Fluoride is healthy for your teeth because fluoride strengthens tooth enamel. As your tooth’s defenses against bacteria, your tooth enamel shields the tooth with a hard outer mineral layer. Overtime, acid erosion, teeth grinding, and tooth decay wear down enamel, making your teeth more sensitive and more vulnerable. Since your body cannot reproduce lost enamel, your teeth depend on fluoride supplements to remineralize the tooth and strengthen defenses.
Fluoride in Drinking Water
Fluoride is not only used in toothpastes and mouthwashes, but even community water supplies in the United States. Although fluoride is healthy for your teeth, infants who drink too much fluoridated water may develop a condition known as fluorosis. This involves white streaky, permanent stains on their adult teeth. Our Lake Forest dentist recommends using filtered water during the age when your baby’s diet consists mostly of formula. Fluoride is found naturally in many water sources. Fluorosis is most common in areas that drink well water.
An Overdose of Fluoride causes Fluorosis
Fluorosis is mainly a cosmetic issue that affects your teeth. Overexposure of fluoride during the first eight years of life will change how enamel forms on adult teeth. The crowns of permanent teeth are mostly formed by the age of eight.
After eruption the enamel of the teeth affected by fluorosis may appear discolored. In most cases, there are lacy white markings ton the enamel surfaces hat only dentists can detect. In the worst cases, the enamel on the teeth will have:
- Discolorations and stains that appear yellow to dark brown
- Pits, irregularities, or depressions that are highly noticeable
Ancient Enemies of Fluoride
The thirteenth most common mineral in the earth’s crust, fluoride is naturally occurring in the United States. Studies show that some ancient bacterial riboswitches have been developing over billions of years to fight off fluoride. These same riboswitches help cavity-causing bacteria overcome the positive effects of fluoride. Scientists are looking into ways to destroy these riboswitches in bacteria so that fluoride can do its job more efficiently.
Cavity Prevention in Lake Forest
For more information about protecting your dental health, contact our Lake Forest dentist, Dr. Fondriest. You can schedule a dental checkup by calling us at 847-234-0517.
Dr Fondriest is a Nationally recognized and highly sought after cosmetic dentist serving clients from throughout the United States