Fluoride — Communist Conspiracy or Tooth Superhero?
Before today’s crop of loonies, fluoride used to occupy one of the main tenets of the conspiracy theorists. Yes, the geniuses of the John Birch Society even tried to get fluoride stopped from being added to the nation’s water supplies, deeming it to be a “Communist plot” to achieve mind control over Americans.
Fortunately, saner minds prevailed because fluoride is one of the best things a person can ingest to help strengthen their teeth.
At Kalil & Kress, we probably would have a lot more business if it weren’t for fluoride in the New Hampshire water supply. If you doubt that, here’s some info on this ubiquitous dental mineral.
What is it and how does fluoride protect your teeth?
You could say your mouth is like a mine in Cripple Creek, Colorado. Minerals come and go in two processes called demineralization and remineralization. These processes are the way minerals are lost and then added back to the enamel layer of the teeth. We like remineralization; demineralization is the problem. Minerals are lost from a tooth’s enamel layer when acids, formed from the bacteria in plaque and sugars in the mouth, attack the enamel. Fortunately, when you eat foods and drink water, minerals such as fluoride, calcium, and phosphate remineralize the teeth. The balance is what’s important. Too much demineralization without remineralization results in tooth decay.
OK, so the process probably confuses the anti-fluoride crowd. But beyond the process, fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral in many foods and in water. Yes, it’s in there before we add it, just not as much. It helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth enamel more resistant to those acids from bacteria and sugars in the mouth. Fluoride also has the cool effect of reversing early cases of decay. For kids under 6, fluoride becomes incorporated into the development of permanent teeth. This makes the teeth resistant to the assault of acids to demineralize the teeth. Fluoride also speeds remineralization and disrupts acid production in the mouth.
When is fluoride the most beneficial?
It was originally thought that only children benefit from fluoride, but new research shows that topical fluoride from toothpastes, mouth rinses, and fluoride treatments are important to help adult teeth fight decay. For children, it’s long been known that children between 6 months and 16 years need fluoride to help build their teeth.
Fluoride treatments at Kalil & Kress
So, now you know that fluoride is one of your mouth’s best friends. We provide fluoride treatments topically at regular cleaning/exam visits, particularly for our younger patients.
Is it time for your next checkup? Call us at 603-880-7004 to make an appointment.