Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in rocks, soil, and water. It has been added to public water supplies for over 70 years to help prevent tooth decay. While some people question the use of fluoride in water, it has been proven to be a safe and effective way to promote oral health. In this blog post, we will explore why fluoride is added to our water and the benefits it provides.
Fluoride was first added to public water supplies in the United States in 1945. This was based on research that showed people who lived in areas with naturally occurring fluoride in their water had fewer cavities than those who did not. The addition of fluoride to water has since become a common practice in many countries around the world.
How Fluoride Works
Fluoride works by strengthening tooth enamel, which is the hard, protective layer that covers the outside of the teeth. When tooth enamel is strong, it is less susceptible to decay caused by bacteria and acid in the mouth. Fluoride also helps to repair the early stages of tooth decay before it becomes a full-blown cavity.
Benefits of Fluoride in Water
- Prevents Tooth Decay : The main benefit of fluoride in water is that it helps to prevent tooth decay. Studies have shown that communities with fluoridated water have significantly fewer cavities than those without. Fluoridated water benefits both children and adults, with a 25% reduction in cavities in children and a 20-40% reduction in cavities in adults.
- Safe and Effective : Fluoride in water has been extensively studied and has been found to be safe and effective at preventing tooth decay. The level of fluoride in public water supplies is carefully monitored to ensure it is within safe limits. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers water fluoridation to be one of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th century.
- Cost-Effective : Adding fluoride to public water supplies is a cost-effective way to promote oral health. It is estimated that every $1 spent on water fluoridation saves $38 in dental treatment costs. This is because preventing cavities is much less expensive than treating them.
- Reduces Health Disparities : Fluoride in water can help to reduce health disparities in underserved communities. People in low-income areas and communities of color are more likely to suffer from dental problems and have less access to dental care. Fluoridated water helps to level the playing field by providing an easy and affordable way to promote oral health.
Although fluoride in water is a safe and effective way to prevent tooth decay, it should be replaced with brushing and flossing on a daily basis. Besides that, it is important to note that fluoride is not the only factor responsible for dental health. One must follow a proper dental routine along with a diet supportive of overall dental health.
If you have concerns about the fluoride in your water, talk to your dentist or local health department to learn more about the benefits and risks of fluoride.