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The Value of Fluoride

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In April 2015, the United States decreased the concentration of fluoride added to drinking water to .7 milligrams per liter, because fluoride in toothpaste and mouth rinses has become prevalent. This concentration represents the bottom end of the range set by the government in 1962. Fluoride has been credited as having had a profound effect in decreasing tooth decay over the years. I consider this fact particularly impressive when I look at the changes in the American diet. Think about how many sports drinks and sodas your family consumes in a month, and look at the sugar content in salty snacks and convenience foods. The main demon for tooth decay is acid, and these items start out or convert to acids.

The good news is that the enamel that covers the visible portion of teeth is fairly resistant to acid, but the bad news is that there is no enamel on tooth roots. Sometimes, gums recede as people age, and this exposes the roots to more acid and, accordingly, more decay in areas that lie closer to the nerve of a tooth.

Most often, when I see patients with sensitivity to cool or cold food and beverages, I prescribe fluoride in a stronger concentration than is available in rinses. I also ask them to floss, read food labels, and abstain from a list of acid-producing beverages and snacks. Their sensitivity usually disappears over time. Their annual dental expenses decline.

Contact Winterset Dental today to find out which treatment is right for you.