Flouride & Decay Prevention | Abington, PA
Fluoride Treatments in Abington, PA
Fluoride and the teeth of our younger patients from around the Abington area should go together like the 76’ers and Dr. J. This naturally occurring mineral has a long history and thousands of pages of research showing its benefits for protecting teeth from decay.
Alas, the internet and its ability to spread false information have made some people question the value of fluoride. Let’s just say its value is indisputable in preventing decay and making for healthier teeth.
That’s why at McDowell Dental Group we make fluoride treatments a big part of our preventive dental care for our pediatric and teenage patients, along with some adults prone to developing tooth decay.
What is fluoride?
The people who have issues with fluoride assume it’s some manmade chemical. It’s actually anything but that. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that you can find just about everywhere. It can be found in natural water sources (and you thought it was only added to municipal water supplies), along with a wide assortment of foods. Wonder just what foods and beverages have fluoride in them naturally? How about pickles, white wine, spinach, oysters, carrots, green and black teas, various fruit juices, Russet potatoes, asparagus, and even chicken, just to name a few.
How does fluoride protect the teeth?
Our teeth are sort of like a mine. Every day minerals are coming and going. Minerals are added to and lost from a tooth’s enamel layer through two processes, demineralization and 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. Therein lies the ongoing battle — too much demineralization without remineralization results in tooth decay.
As mentioned above, fluoride occurs naturally in many foods and water. 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.
Who wouldn’t like more decay?
The proponents of removing fluoride from municipal water sources evidently like dentures. In the 1930s, Americans had an extremely high rate of dental caries (the clinical term for cavities). In those years, by the age of 55 half of all Americans needed dentures, meaning they had lost all or most of their teeth thanks to decay. At 6 years of age in the 30s, 80 percent of children had an average of 14 cavities.
There was a growing flood of research that showed adding fluoride to water helped prevent decay. Grand Rapids, Michigan was selected as a test city for adding fluoride to the municipal water supply. The results covered 15 years, from 1945 to 1960. They showed a 65 percent decline in tooth decay. End of story. After Grand Rapids, just about all cities around the world adopted water fluoridation and dental health improved.
The success of fluoride’s role in preventing tooth decay prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to proclaim community water fluoridation as one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th century.
What are the benefits of fluoride treatments?
What’s the benefit of a child not having mouthful of fillings? What’s the benefit of having strong enamel that fights off bacteria seeking to gain a foothold? There isn’t any debate about the beneficiary effect of fluoride for preventing tooth decay. In fact, if 75 years of consistent research and results aren’t enough to convince people of the science behind fluoride, what is?
Fluoride helps remineralize our teeth. That keeps the enamel strong. That helps prevent decay in a big way. That makes for a perfect smile. That’s the benefit of fluoride treatments at McDowell Dental and across the world. Don’t listen to the pseudo scientists who make claims without a shred of evidence to back them up.
When do children need fluoride the most?
Children between 6 months and 16 years need fluoride to help build their teeth. This is proven by dozens of research studies.
How is fluoride treatment done at McDowell Dental?
We provide fluoride treatments at our Abington offices as a gel, foam, or varnish. Varnishes are painted on the teeth; foams are put into a mouth guard, which is worn from one to four minutes; gels can be painted on or applied via a mouth guard.
How often should a child get a fluoride treatment?
Fluoride treatments are recommended by the American Dental Association to be at intervals of 3, 6, or 12 months, depending on your proclivity toward developing decay.
Are fluoride treatments safe?
This is where the conspiracy theorists have done society a disservice. Fluoridation has continued to be one of the most tested, cost effective, and proven safe public health measures ever undertaken. Conspiracy theorists claim fluoride is poison. Fluoride actually is present in all groundwater around the U.S. to some extent. To put poisoning in context, a lethal dose of fluoride is 5-10 grams. That is the equivalent of drinking 10,000 8-ounce glasses of water — all at once.
All credible health organizations around the world support fluoridation as a public health benefit.
At McDowell Dental Group, our fluoride treatments are applied typically in gel in trays or painted directly on the teeth. It is left on for four minutes, and then the patient rinses. These are completely safe, and utterly beneficial, treatments.
Are there side effects with fluoride treatments?
There are no side effects. As mentioned above, the amount of fluoride, both in water supplies and in our direct treatments, is miniscule and has no effect other than to help with remineralization of the teeth.
You could say the only side effects come from NOT having fluoride. Due to misinformation and outright omission of scientific research findings, people in some cities have voted to remove fluoride from water supplies. Individual families have bought into the misinformation and have opted to only use bottled water. They only allow their children to use toothpaste without fluoride. This has allowed rates of tooth decay to rise in certain areas.
Again, there is no debate about the value of fluoride in the scientific community, and mountains of research back it up. Collectively, our teeth today are better than any time in human history. Fluoride has played a big part in that.
Who can have fluoride treatments at McDowell Dental?
Conspiracy theorists aside, fluoride is one of your teeth’s best friends. At McDowell Dental we give our younger patients concentrated fluoride treatments, usually with fluoride gel in trays. But we can also provide fluoride for adults who have less-than-awesome enamel. Plus, seniors’ teeth need fluoride, especially to stem decay around long-placed cavities and such.