Every month, we answer some of your most frequently asked questions surrounding oral health. Wondering why you wake up with bad breath in the morning? Curious how your dentist knows if you’ve been flossing or not? Let us know! We’ll ask our panel of experts to give you the 4-1-1 on everything you need to know so you can take charge of your oral health.
Q: I heard that Fluoride is bad for you. Is this true?
A: Flouride is an ion with strong evidence showing it inhibits demineralization (weakening) of the tooth structure and actually promotes remineralization (strengthening ) of the teeth. Stronger teeth better resist decay. These facts are indisputable. However, the scare that many people have with fluoride is not due to the benefits of the ion when used topically, it is often based on the fact that it is put into the drinking water in many places and the ion is ingested without the public having a say.
It is true that in LARGE quantities the fluoride ion can indeed be poisonous (hence the reason your child gets an upset stomach if they eat a large quantity of fluoridated toothpaste!). Although it has been shown that since water fluoridation has taken place in the United States, tooth decay has decreased by 68%… and over the last 40 years it has also decreased in countries that choose not to fluoridate their water. Why is this you ask? Mainly because the topical fluoride found in toothpastes, mouth rinses, and the treatments we receive at our dentists’ offices is a strong tool against tooth decay!
Another large contributing factor is a society’s diet. For example, if an individual:
- Has perfect blood sugar
- Has balanced ions of Calcium and Phosphous in the body
- Consumes fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K
- Minimizes sugar and carbohydrate intake
This person will be at a much lower risk for developing cavities! If you add in a mouthrinse or topical flouride application to strengthen teeth, you will see even less of a risk for tooth decay. If you are an individual that does have to minimize ingestion of fluoride for health reasons, don’t fear! Stick to the diet mentioned above, have your blood sugar levels tested and find a natural mouth rinse containing ingredients like vitamin K, Tea Tree Oil, Aloe Vera, and Myrr that naturally decrease inflammation and fight the bacteria that cause tooth decay. And, most importantly, make sure to see your dentist & hygienist regularly so they can remove tooth-weakening plaque and calculus deposits.
Gena Schultheis, DMD,
Owner of Annapolis Green Dental and proud member of the Eco-Dentistry Association, located in Annapolis, Maryland.
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