Fluoride is one of the most fiercely debated topics in the dental industry. Some people and dental professionals believe fluoride is something that should be considered an absolute “must have” while others believe that it should be avoided at all costs as it is toxic and harmful. These conflicting opinions make it difficult for many parents, who are just trying to keep their children healthy, to know what to do. That is why we are here to help.
We will take a closer look at what fluoride is, why it is commonly used in the dental industry, and explore whether or not you need to avoid it.
What Exactly is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that is commonly found in water. This mineral has been shown to help improve people’s oral health by doing everything from preventing the spread of tooth decay to strengthening the teeth’s enamel and reversing early damage caused by cavities and decay.
There are a number of ways fluoride is consumed. Fluoride can be found in both tap water and bottled water, toothpastes you use, mouth rinses, and even as gels or supplemental tablets.
What is the Potential Problem with Fluoride?
People who have a problem with fluoride don’t have a problem with the actual mineral. Their problem is with the fact that people may be over-consuming fluoride. These people believe that consuming too much fluoride can cause a number of health problems from developmental delays to autoimmune diseases and cancer.
The concern over fluoride developed when people started to notice it is being added to so many things people consume on a daily basis. Since it is present in so many things it can be extremely easy for people to consume too much of it and potentially develop health problems.
Is My Child Getting Enough Fluoride?
Parents often come to us asking “is my child getting enough fluoride”. That is a question we can answer, but only after completing a complete dental exam. A dental examination will allow us to see the health of your child’s teeth. If there are noticeable problems, such as extensive tooth decay or weak enamel, it could be a sign your child is not getting enough fluoride.
Without conducting an exam on your child, the only way we can answer that question is by saying “it depends”. Depending upon the source of your drinking water your child may be getting enough fluoride and therefore you don’t really need the supplemental fluoride found in toothpastes, tablets, and mouth rinses.
Most of our patients live in or around Orlando, Florida. For these patients, there is a good chance that the tap water you give to your child has enough fluoride in it. However, different parts of Orlando get their water from different places, so there may be a chance that your child is not getting the proper amount of fluoride and may need use fluoride toothpaste, mouth rinses, or gels.
Some people don’t like the taste of tap water and prefer bottled water. While some bottled water may contain fluoride, it often does not contain enough to help improve the health of your child’s teeth and gums. To get enough fluoride, your child may need to use toothpastes or mouth rinses that are supplemented with fluoride or they may need to take supplemental fluoride tablets, which are available by prescription only.
Concerned about Fluoride? Talk to Your Dentist
We encourage parents who are concerned about the potential health risks of fluoride to talk with our pediatric dentist. Our pediatric dentist will ask you questions about the type of toothpaste is used and the type of water that is consumed. The answers you provide along with a visual examination of your child’s teeth will help our dentist assess whether your child is getting too little, too much, or just the right amount of fluoride.
Wish to discuss whether or not you should avoid fluoride? Call The Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida to schedule an appointment for your child and to have the opportunity to talk with one of our experienced dentists about fluoride.