At Charleston Orthodontic Specialists, we are here to provide expert treatment to help our patients achieve the smile they’ve always wanted. And while coming to see us to start orthodontic treatment is a great way to take care of and improve your smile, we also want to help you take care of your smile on your own. In particular, we want to help you separate myth from fact when it comes to the puzzling debate over fluoridated water.
What Is Fluoride?
Anybody who has gone to the dentist, which is hopefully most of you, has heard the word “fluoride” at some point or another. But what exactly is this mystery stuff? Fluoride is a natural mineral found throughout the Earth’s crust around the globe. This mineral has been found by researchers to be incredibly beneficial for the human body in a number of ways, particularly when it comes to the development and strengthening of bones, including teeth.
Fluoride helps bone and tooth development in multiple ways. It strengthens enamel in both growing permanent teeth and teeth that have fully emerged, making it beneficial for all ages. For this reason, fluoride has long been used to help facilitate dental treatments due to its ability to strengthen the enamel in teeth. Fluoride also helps facilitate the natural processes in your mouth that demineralize and re-mineralize your saliva, helping to give your teeth a natural advantage.
Fluoride is often directly applied to the teeth when kids are young, which helps their teeth grow strong and protects against tooth decay. It is also found in many brands of toothpaste since consistent application helps to maintain the strength and well-being of teeth.
Because of the clear benefits of fluoride, it is commonly found in many public water supplies. This practice began in the 1930s, when researchers discovered that communities that drank water with naturally occurring fluoride experienced two-thirds fewer cavities than communities that didn’t drink fluoridated water. Ever since, a majority of cities have added fluoride to their public water supply.
Now here’s where things get a little odd. There has been some debate recently about the safety of fluoridated water. Many misconceptions have started to circulate online and throughout various mediums, causing the public perception of fluoridated water to become more skeptical. Popular myths about fluoridated water claim it is linked to cancer, autism, Alzheimer’s, and other physical or mental deficits. While there is some risk in ingesting high concentrations of fluoride, fluoridated water contains trace amounts, just enough for it to be beneficial alongside other sources of fluoride. The consensus among the scientific community is there is no link between fluoridated water and health problems and communities with fluoridated water continue to have an advantage when it comes to oral health.
To set yourself up for better oral health for the future, contact Charleston Orthodontic Specialists today to set up your free consultation to see if orthodontic treatment is right for you!