According to the ADA the majority of bottled water does not contain optimal levels of fluoride to protect your teeth against harmful bacteria. In addition, some types of home water treatment systems also reduce the fluoride levels decreasing the decay-preventive effects of tap water. The absence of fluoride is not to be inferred as some kind of public or private ban on the use of fluoridation, because this is not the case. And with respect to your oral health, when used appropriately, fluoride is both safe and effective and probably your best means of preventing and controlling dental caries. So how do you use fluoride to achieve the maximum protection against dental caries and efficiently reducing the likelihood of enamel fluorosis? There are numerous fluoride modalities that are effective, inexpensive, readily available, and can be used in both private and public health settings. And if left unchecked, the resulting bacteria can penetrate dissolved surfaces, attack the underlying dentin, and reach the soft pulp tissue, causing of course tooth decay. Drinking fluoridated water, brushing with fluoride toothpaste, or using other fluoride dental products can effectively and inexpensively raise the concentration of fluoride in the saliva present in your mouth 100- to 1,000-fold.
Children and adults who are at low risk for dental caries can remain low risk through frequent exposure to small amounts of fluoride by drinking fluoridated water and using fluoride toothpaste. While children and adults at high risk for dental caries should benefit from additional exposure to fluoride by going one step further and utilizing mouth rinse, dietary supplements, and professionally applied products. The ADA reviews fluoride products for caries prevention through its voluntary Seal of Acceptance program and accepted products are listed in the ADA Guide to Dental Therapeutics. At this particular moment in our oral healthcare, fluoride is the only nonprescription toothpaste additive proven to prevent dental caries. As I have recommended in previous articles, brushing is the simplest and number one action you can take to maintain your teeth and oral hygiene. This of course should be followed by regular cleanings and checkups with your dentist.
American Dental Association. ADA guide to dental therapeutics. 1st ed. Chicago, IL: American Dental Association, 1998.
Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC
ZoAnna Scheinfeld, MS, DMD
Hanna Orland, DMD
3781 Chamblee Dunwoody Road
Chamblee, GA 30341
290 Carpenter Drive, 200A
Atlanta (Sandy Springs) GA, 30328
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