The American Dental Association calls fluoride “nature’s cavity fighter.” This naturally occurring compound substantially reduces the chance of cavities. While fluoride is crucial for strong teeth, excessive amounts can cause enamel mottling and discoloration. Critics also argue that too much fluoride can cause health problems or intellectual development issues in children.
The trick is to consume just enough fluoride for your dental health needs without overdoing it. Speak with Dr. Evanson about any concerns you have about getting the right amount of fluoride. In the meantime, here are expert tips for increasing or decreasing your fluoride intake based on your needs.
To Get More Fluoride…
Brush with fluoride toothpaste
Fluoride toothpaste delivers this compound topically to protect your teeth. Prescription strength toothpaste is also available for adults with a greater risk of tooth decay.
Some toothpaste products are available without fluoride, but you should only use fluoride-free toothpaste on children younger than two (unless instructed otherwise by your doctor or dentist). Kids under age six only need a pea-size amount of toothpaste, and you should be sure to teach your children about spitting rather than swallowing. This prepares them to use fluoride toothpaste safely once they get a little older.
Swish with fluoride mouthwash
Many mouthwash products contain fluoride to rinse away sugar residue and create a protective layer on your teeth. Read labels and ask Dr. Evanson for recommendations to help you make a smart choice for your dental health.
Request fluoride treatment at your next dental visit
Talk with Dr. Evanson about your cavity risk and whether you could benefit from fluoride treatment. This involves brushing on a fluoride coating or wearing fluoride foam trays over your teeth for a few minutes. Special topical treatments provide extra protection against cavities for the next few months.
Drink water from the tap
75 percent of Americans’ tap water is fluoridated, including our water here in Northern Colorado. Denver Water introduces 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of drinking water. Not only does the fluoride rush over your teeth when you take a drink, but a small amount also lingers in your saliva, providing topical protection for your teeth.
Most importantly, ingested fluoride helps teeth grow stronger before they erupt through the gums. This makes fluoridated water especially vital for children whose teeth are still developing.
Chew fluoride supplements
Toddlers and children who still have baby teeth can benefit from fluoride supplements. Chewing these is another way to ingest fluoride and help permanent teeth grow stronger before they erupt through the gums.
To Limit Your Fluoride Intake…
Install a reverse osmosis water filter
This system is an affordable way to continuously remove fluoride, lead, copper, and pesticides from your drinking water. Reverse osmosis taps into the water supply and filters it with a semi-permeable membrane. The filter is installed under a sink or in the basement and includes a dedicated water line leading to a specific faucet. Some systems can produce 50 gallons of fluoride-free water per day.
Drink bottled or distilled water
Look for bottled water that has been treated with reverse osmosis. Distilled water is another option, which is essentially recaptured steam. You can buy a countertop distilling machine to treat your tap water, install a whole-house distillation system, or buy distilled water by the gallon at the grocery store. Be aware that some bottled and distilled water is not fluoride-free, so read labels carefully.
Don’t stop brushing!
Even if your goal is to limit your fluoride intake, never stop brushing with fluoride toothpaste (unless your doctor or dentist instructs you to). Daily brushing and flossing is the number one way to maintain a healthy smile and prevent cavities.
Talk to Dr. Evanson About Your Fluoride Needs
Whether you’re looking for ways to protect against cavities or you’ve heard rumors about health problems and intellectual development issues associated with fluoride, bring up your concerns with Dr. Evanson. We can recommend a safe, healthy fluoride level for you and your family.
For more dental health tips, or to schedule an appointment, please contact Evanson DDS online or call our Parker office at (720) 409-0008 today.Leave a reply →