At Artistic Touch Dentistry, our aim is cavity prevention and health preservation. We know that regular dental prophylaxis (cleanings), daily brushing and flossing, and toothpaste with fluoride all contribute to healthy teeth and gums.
In most US communities (70%), the community water supply is fluoridated to protect tooth enamel and prevent cavities. This practice began in the 1950’s after scientists determined the optimal amount of fluoride for tooth protection. Too much fluoride can lead to tooth mottling and staining, but it also protects against cavities. The trick was to determine how much fluoride could be introduced to the water supply to maintain the protective effects without causing cosmetic defects. The answer? About 1 mg per day, per adult.
Consuming the optimal amount of fluoride is easy when fluoride is added to community water systems. There are a few other factors impacting fluoride to note:
- Babies under 12 months of age should have formula prepared with non-fluoridated water. Introducing fluoride too early can lead to tooth staining.
- Fluoride accumulates in the body, so drinking non-fluoridated bottled water won’t leave your teeth susceptible to damage if you still drink public water on occasion.
- Not all communities fluoridate. If you want to check the status of your community water supply, the Centers for Disease Control offers a tool here: http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/MWF/index.asp
Fluoride isn’t a cure-all. You’ll still need to brush twice daily, floss once daily, and visit us biannually for a cleaning in order to maintain your most healthy smile. In the mean time, cheers! Enjoy that fluoridated water!