Fascinating Facts About Fluoride

Fluoride may not be something you think about often. You may not even be aware of its significance or its presence in your daily life. Did you know that fluoride is something you consume daily? Fluoride itself is a naturally occurring mineral found in water, soil, plants, rocks, air, and is also in your bones and teeth. The ionic compound fluoride is derived from fluorine, which is the 13th most abundant element and is released into the environment naturally in both water and air. Fluoride is created when salts from the element fluorine combine with minerals in soil or rocks.

So why does it matter? How does fluoride help?

One of the primary benefits of fluoride is the prevention of tooth decay. When fluoride and water mix with saliva and are absorbed by dental plaque, the fluoride bonds with any weakened tooth enamel thereby strengthening the enamel and preventing tooth decay. Although fluoride is naturally present in earth’s water supply, the concentrations are generally low and not quite sufficient to provide the oral health benefits needed. Increasing the concentration of fluoride to an optimal level for drinking water has made a substantial impact on oral health. According to the CDC, tooth decay has declined in the United States since fluoridation began in 1945. And he Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named community water fluoridation one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.

So where did fluoridation begin in the United States? Grand Rapids, Michigan, was the first US city to fluoridate its public water supply in 1945. A mere five years later, the schoolchildren of Grand Rapids were found to have significantly fewer cavities than children from surrounding communities. Soon other cities and communities across the US began following in their footsteps. And now more than 200 million people (approximately 75% of the US population) drink water with enough fluoride to help prevent tooth decay.

Of course additional fluoride treatments and sources are available as well. Fluoride can be found in toothpaste, mouth rinses and supplements. If you have any questions about fluoride or how it is used to help prevent tooth decay and improve your oral health, the dental hygienists at the office of Dallas periodontist and dental implant specialist, Charles Orth, DDS, would be happy to assist you.


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