What is fluoride, and why do we need it?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral. Decades ago, health official’s realized that areas with high levels of fluoride in their water also had less tooth decay, spurring efforts to add fluoride in areas with lower levels. When you eat sugar or other refined carbohydrates, bacteria in the mouth produces acid that removes minerals from the surface of the tooth. Fluoride helps remineralize the tooth surface and prevent cavities,according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Is the water supply the best way to deliver fluoride?
Health officials think so, because people take in water throughout the day, getting cavity protection. It also helps protect people who cannot afford regular dental care, a growing population in the current economic climate. “You don’t have to remember to do anything,” Bailey says. “It reaches people of all socioeconomic groups.”
What do I do if I don’t have fluoridated water?
Dr. Craig Oldham, president elect of the Hillsborough County Dental Association, recommends fluoride supplements for children 12 and under who live in areas without fluoridated water. “daily brushing is not enough,” he said, pointing out that ingesting fluoride not just placing it on the teeth is essential for tooth formation in children. Also, research has found that as people age and saliva production declines, fluoridated water also is protective.
Source: St. Petersburg Times, Thursday October 6,2011