Fluoride has become a hot topic. You’ll likely find many conversation threads in online moms’ groups about the pros and cons with links to a wide range of articles… but what is it exactly? And what’s the big deal, anyway?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in rocks, plants, soil, and even the air. But it is also added to public water supplies and oral hygiene products because it strengthens tooth enamel and prevents tooth decay. Did you know that fluoride is the #1 thing that reduces dental cavities in children?
A Brief History
Having grown up in large metropolitan areas in the ’80s and ’90s, I feel like I’ve never known a world without fluoridated water. But it turns out fluoridated water wasn’t always a thing. It wasn’t until January 25, 1945, in the midst of WWII, that Grand Rapids, Michigan became the first city to add fluoride to its drinking water. By 1951, the U.S. Public Health Service adopted the policy and practice of water fluoridation to prevent tooth decay. Fluoridation became widely used in the U.S. by 1960 and since then, fluoride has been shown to prevent tooth decay by as much as 50-70%.
Using Fluoride Responsibly
As with all things though, you want to use fluoride in moderation. Despite the confirmed advantages, too little or too much fluoride can be harmful to teeth and our overall health. Too much fluoride can lead to dental fluorosis. And too little fluoride leaves teeth weak and susceptible to cavity-causing bacteria and plaque.
As soon as that first tooth erupts, you want to begin using fluoridated toothpaste. Use a grain of rice-sized amount of toothpaste until age 3, and then a pea-sized amount. Using age-appropriate amounts of fluoridated toothpaste is recommended by both the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). Aside from that, your dentist may apply fluoride in the office as part of routine cleanings.
New Year, Fresh Start
The start of a new year is a great time to set family health goals–and get back to the dentist! If you’re looking for a local pediatric dentist, we recommend Dr. Bob Pediatric Dentist. Dr. Bob is proud of his full-service boutique practice, and his office is conveniently located in South Miami. He’s also accepting new patients! When you visit, you’ll find that his practice has a wonderful family feel where his team strives to provide the exceptional care your child deserves. For questions or to schedule an appointment, you can reach Dr. Bob’s practice by phone at 305-397-8214 or via their website. Call to schedule your child(ren)’s appointment today!