Fluoride: The History
In 1945 Grand Rapids, Michigan became the first community to have fluoride added to its municipal water supply to reduce the incidents of cavities in teeth. Since then America has had a love affair with it, adding fluoride to mouth rinses, toothpaste and water all over the country.
Decades of study uncovered fluoride as the central reason for small pockets of communities with significantly lower incidence of tooth decay. Ultimately proving that groundwater with naturally occurring levels of were responsible for the lower incidence of cavities.
Over 100 years of study have documented that fluoride can help reduce the incidence of cavities, help reinforce damaged teeth and retard advancement of enamel wear. While fluoride definitely has it’s place in helping teeth stay strong and decay free, there are some facts that can help make sure you and your family aren’t getting too much.
Too Much of A Good Thing
Though fluoride has become an integral part oral health it is possible to get too much. In significant amounts its actually toxic. Fluoride overexposure can result in bone deformities and tooth malformations in the worst cases, and tooth staining brownish discoloration in less significant amounts of overexposure. Ultimately fluoride can be fatal when ingested in high enough concentrations, especially for the very young.
Fluoride ingested into the body can only be useful in tiny amounts to those people who still have teeth forming that are not yet erupted. Namely young children. After all of our teeth are erupted, or have come in, fluoride continues to help teeth but only in a topical use. This means that we do not need to ingest or swallow fluoride to help remineralize teeth, in fact swallowing fluoride if you have all of your adult teeth will not help any of your teeth, and may even make you sick.
We all typically purchase fluoridated toothpaste. Fluoride is also added to most public water systems as an important public health measure so that we get it in our home directly from the faucets. However, did you know that you can find fluoride in a variety of other naturally occurring sources? Or that when manufacturing facilities use fluoridated “tap” water in making their products, that you can find fluoride in their products? Fluoride can be found in energy drinks, fruit juices, and canned goods (notably soups, fish and chicken). You can also find fluoride in soda, wine, and beer!
So how do you avoid over exposure for you and your family to excessive fluoride..
Having the right amount of fluoride in your diet is vital for good oral health. How can we be sure we are not ingesting fluoride and that we are getting the amount we need in the form we need to do the most good for our teeth?
- Start by not giving children toothpaste with fluoride until they are able to comply with spitting the toothpaste into the sink rather than swallowing.
- Do not use more than a pea sized portion of toothpaste when using fluoridated toothpaste.
- Whenever possible drink water as opposed to bottled beverages that may have concentrated levels of fluoride.
- It’s nearly impossible to filter out fluoride, only water filtered by osmosis, ionization or activated alumina can remove significant levels of fluoride.
- Water can also be distilled to remove most fluoride
- When purchasing prepared foods read labels and look for distilled water rather than water with no indication that it has been purified
- This includes bottled drinks, soups, broths, canned fruit, canned vegtables, beer, wine and anything else preserved or made with water.
- Eat more fresh food and less preserved and processed food.
- One way to avoid foods prepared and or stored in water laden with fluoride is to skip the prepared and preserved foods and eat them fresh. Fresh fruits and vegetables have much less likelihood of exposing you to fluoride in measureable levels.
- Eating organic grapes, raisins, grape juice and wine can also reduce fluoride levels.
- a pesticide commonly used on grapes (cryolite) is a fluoridated pesticide and can be absorbed by the plant and its fruit
If you have any questions or concerns about the use of fluoride feel free to call your dental team at DFW Family Dentistry today.