Once upon a time fluoride, a naturally occurring compound added to community drinking water was deemed "... one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century (http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/)". Scientific evidence has shown that small amounts of fluoride can fight tooth decay and protect against cavities. Individuals have a myriad of ways to get fluoride including tap water, using dental care products with the additive and even getting fluoride dental treatments straight from a dentist. That can lead to getting too much of a good thing.
Some may erroneously think that getting more fluoride is better for dental health, but the reality is too much fluoride can lead to conditions including dental fluorosis, brittle bones, stomach pains (if ingested), allergic reactions and high toxicity levels in organs like the kidneys and the brain. That is why you must take responsibility for figuring out where you (and your children's) fluoride is coming from in order to better control the amount of the compound they receive.
Adding fluoride to community water sources has been a recommended practice from the U.S. Public Health Service since 1951 and became commonplace during the 1960s. Estimates suggest that over 70 percent of all American citizens have access to fluoride treated water. While some areas are thinking about stopping the process (as a way to help limit levels and save money) others are just starting to add the compound. That is why individuals must call their local water department to find out what is going on with the fluoride level of their drinking water.
Ever community has their own local government and sets of rules. As a result, no two areas will have identical levels of fluoride (if any) added to their water. The current government recommendation is identical to the one implemented by U.S. Public Health Service in 1962, 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams of water per liter. When the levels were first suggested it made sense as water was the primary source for distributing fluoride, however since individuals now get fluoride from other sources, those levels may be way too high.
The Center for Disease Control and prevention recommended that if community water has more than 2 parts per million, finding a different source of water may be a wiser choice as a way to help minimize fluoride consumption. Some options may include filtering water or even switching to bottle water containing lower levels of fluoride but before making that choice, knowing exactly how your community handles the water fluoridation process is a must.
Fluoride was initially added to toothpastes in 1914, but at that time the American Dental Association criticized the move. That changed in 1955 when fluoride filled Crest became available for purchase and the ADA reversed their option in 1960. For many years dentists and health experts recommended fluoride toothpastes to their patients, but as more community water has the additive, fluoride toothpastes many no longer be necessary.
This should not be viewed as an invitation to skip tooth brushing as after finding out the levels in the local water supplies, individuals may find that fluoride toothpaste would just be overkill. Instead, individuals need to select a natural toothpaste to offset the fluoride levels in the water. Some ingredients to look for include tooth disease and gum disease fighting additives such as xylitol, baking soda (for tooth stain removal) or licorice root extract to kill bad breath.
When it comes to dental health and implementing effective dental care, the best advice and dental treatments will come from your dentist. Patients need to make the effort to find out the levels of water in their fluoride and provide their dentist with the full list of dental care products they use as fluoride may be added. Based on that information, a dentist may recommend the application of a fluoride dental treatment or may suggest skipping the process altogether.
Consumers looking to find a dentist to further clarify a strategy for managing the fluoride conundrum can call 1-800-DENTIST, 24/7 to get the name of a skilled dental care provider, close to home.