Researchers and dentists have been vocalizing the advantage of fluoride in dental care for many years now. The use of fluoride in some cases, however, remains a hot button issue.
So, let us help you clear all your queries and elevate the confusions.
It is your friendly guide to fluoride’s importance and consequences in our daily life.
Brief Introduction to Fluoride
Before the judgment starts let’s find some facts about the suspect.
- Fluoride is a mineral.
- It is naturally found in our environment like in soil, food, and water. Not organic though.
- Itis the simplest Fluorine anion.
- In the list of earth’s most abundant elements, Fluorine is the 13th one. You can find it everywhere.
- Fluoride’s salts are important chemical reagents and industrial chemicals.
- It is also synthetically produced to provide health care. It is used to create special toothpaste, provide via drinking water, in mouth wash, and other dental treatment requirements.
There are many advantages of fluoride in human life. Still, some pretty concerns remain regarding its effect on our oral health.
Let’s try to reveal how fluoride can help us in strengthening our teeth.
Teeth and Fluoride: How Fluoride Treatments Help Strengthen Teeth
To figure out if you need fluoride treatment or not you have to know what is the relationship between oral health and fluoride.
Several minerals made up the enamel or the white visible shiny part of the teeth. Every day we deposit a new amount of minerals to them as well lose some from them.
Losing the minerals is called demineralization. Whereas, putting them back is known as remineralization.
We lose minerals because of many things like the plaque, bacteria, and sugars in the mouth that attacks the enamel.
Minerals get deposited to the enamel surface through food that we eat, the water we drink and other stuff we put in our mouth.
When the ration of demineralization and remineralization become abrupt that is when we began to have issues.
Though there are some antifluoride sentiments in our society, the truth is also that fluoride is helpful for oral health.
- Fluoride is without a doubt required for dental health. 
- Fluorideis a cavity-fighting powerhouse.
- Fluoride remineralizes the teeth enamel. It helps to strengthen enamel.
- Also, it reduces and slows down existing decays and dental caries.
- Reduces decay possibilities by 20% to 40%.
- Fluoride treatment like varnish can speed up the process of remineralization.
- Also disrupts acid production in already erupted teeth.
- It is natural and safe.
- Fluoride helps children to grow strong permanent teeth.
- Some country’s government provides fluoride via tap water to maintain the daily dose.
- Indiana University conducted a study that suggests people of all ages get benefited from drinking fluoride water but older adults benefited the most.
- A 2015 study showed 6 months of topical sodium fluoride (0.5% NaF) treatment significantly improved 8-15-years-old individual’s oral health.
- In2018 the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care checked out multiple random controlled trials. It involved 10,000 children. They found out children with regular fluoride varnish had fewer cavities. 
- NPR also recommended adults with to a high risk of the cavity should go for fluoride treatment. 
- CAMBRA risk assessments using dentists may recommend fluoride varnish to all ages at moderate or high risk of dental caries.
- AmericanDental Association in 2007 has recognized the potential value of fluoride varnish in elevated risk patients. 
- Fluoridewill help people with xerostomia (dry mouth), periodontitis (gum disease), history of frequent cavities, and has the presence of crowns and/or bridges or braces. All those who undergo a lack of saliva production and head and neck radiation treatment.
When And Who Should Go For Fluoride Treatment
The exact answer is when your doctor confirms.
Regular dental checkups ensure you healthier and strong oral health. If you have never been to a dentist then you can start from now on. It is never late.
Your doctor will do full examine and find out if you have any cavities, loose tooth or any other oral problem.
Thereby, they will prescribe you with needed treatment. They will recommend if fluoride is needed and describe to you why.
They will also provide you with the best way to absorb it in your daily life. So, you will never over-dose.
According to specialist and studies children, age between 6 months to 16 should get in touch with fluoride as during this timeframe primary and permanent teeth come in. That is why take your children to the dentist and figure out the best option for them.
Those who do not have regular access to the dentist clinic should consider fluoride treatment and should talk to the dentist.
Fluoride Treatment V/S Daily Expenses
Compared to the cost of filling, pulling out a tooth and implant fluoride treatment like tooth varnish may prove to be a long-time bargain for a patient with a high risk of dental caries.
And also for children as they are prone to cavity more.
Sources of Fluoride
These could be your doses of needed fluoride.
- Fluoridated toothpaste
- Mouth rinses (you can find lower strength fluoride mouth wash over-the-counter but the higher ones need doctor’s prescription. Studies reveal that fluoride varnish is much safer and effective treatment option than the mouth rinses).
- Fluoridefoams and gels (there are very little clinical trials on the effectiveness, general acceptability is very low)
- FluorideVarnish (painted on teeth; a very effective form of fluoride)
- Supplements (liquids, tablet)
Here, keep in mind that your home water treatment system affects a lot on the amount of the fluoride you take. Steam distillation can remove 100% of fluoride content, reverse osmosis get rid of around 65% to 95%. Water softeners and charcoal have no such effect.
Rational Use of Fluoride
Fluoride was introduced to US households over 70 years ago. And today the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognized water fluoridation as one of the top priorities of public health care. It has decreased the number of cavity cases by 25%.
Some other meta-analysis of 22 studies reveals that the use of fluoride varnish caused a 37% to 43% reduction of tooth decay in both baby teeth and permanent teeth.
However, the unnecessary exposure of fluoride may cause a nauseating effect on the children. For example, numerous studies show that fluoride in prophy paste is not as effective as an adjunct therapy. Some manufacturers just use it in prophy paste to satisfy the paradigm of dental hygienists.
The use of fluoride in toothpaste is however justified and supported by an enormous amount of meta-analysis data.
If you suffer from tooth sensitivity or prone to tooth decay your dentist or oral hygienists can prescribe you fluoride products. So, consider a dental visit before getting any fluoride products in the cabinet.
Fluoride-free Dental Care
Use of pharmaceutical ingredients or additives is always bad for health. The use of fluoride in some dental products is a good example of that.
One such dental product is prophy paste. Some scientists argue that dental fluoride absorption is very negligible in the short period of the polishing stage and thus not effective in dental treatment. Some kids hate it in prophy paste as it makes paste more bitter and less consistent.
Therefore, rational use of flavors (like chocolate, mint, marshmallow, strawberry and so on) in prophy paste is more important than the use of fluoride. While there are many manufacturers who use fluoride in prophy paste, there are also some manufactures and suppliers that who don’t use it and that makes sense.
Discard of such unnecessary additives is not only important for professional and patient acceptance but also important for keeping the production cost at a minimum level. If you are a dental hygienist or practitioner and want to taste it for your patients you can order free prophy paste samples from dental websites that offer fluoride-free prophy paste. While choosing prophy paste, look for products that don’t use dyes, gluten, and titanium as well.
Yes, fluoride is helpful to your dental health. But rational and appropriate use of it provides real benefits. If you properly follow your dentist’s advice, then you won’t have to worry.
Fluoride is very important especially for your little ones and for those who are prone to cavities. That is why you should add fluoride treatments and products in your life; but again, only rational use of it gives real benefits.