Fluoride
 

Does Boston have adequate water fluoridation? While most of Boston is adequately fluoridated there are still some areas that are not; Chelsea Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics will help you determine whether or not your child would benefit from fluoride supplements.
 

What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in all water sources including the oceans. Research has shown that fluoride not only prevents cavities in children and adults, it also helps repair the early stages of tooth decay even before the decay is visible. During childhood, when teeth are still forming, fluoride works by making tooth enamel more resistant to acid that causes tooth decay. Fluoride also helps repair or remineralize areas where the acid attacks have already begun. While cavities still unfortunately occur, tooth decay has been dramatically reduced over the past several decades. The main reason... fluoride!


How is fluoride used?

Fluoride is obtained in two forms: topical and systemic. Topical fluorides may be found in toothpastes, mouth rinses and fluoride applied in the dental office. Systemic fluorides are those that are swallowed. They include fluoridated water and fluoride supplements in the form of tablets or drops. Water fluoridation provides both topical and systemic benefits for preventing tooth decay. Community water fluoridation is an extremely effective and inexpensive means of obtaining the fluoride necessary for optimal prevention of tooth decay. If you are unsure about the fluoride level in your community's water, Chelsea Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics can help you determine that. You can also contact your water utility company.

Children who regularly drink bottled water, well water or unfluoridated tap water may be missing the benefits of fluoride. While some bottled water naturally contains optimal levels of fluoride, the majority of bottled waters do not. Check the label or contact the distributor for information. Well water must be tested to determine its fluoride content. In these instances where water fluoridation is less than optimal, dietary fluoride supplements in the form of tablets or drops are available by prescription. The pediatric dentists at Chelsea Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics can help by prescribing the appropriate dosage. The dosage is based on the natural fluoride concentration of the child's drinking water and the age of the child. Like with all vitamins and minerals, too much of a good thing is not good. Parents and caregivers should always monitor the use of all fluoride containing dental products by children under age six. Only a pea size amount of fluoride toothpaste on a young child's toothbrush should be used and the use of a fluoride mouth rinse is not recommended for children under the age of six because of the potential for swallowing the rinse. Ingestion of higher than recommended levels of fluoride by children has been associated with an increased risk for dental fluorosis in teeth that are still developing.


Is fluoride safe?

More than 60 years of research and experience have shown that optimal levels of fluoridated water do not harm people or the environment. Fluoridation of community water supplies is supported by the American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the US Public Health Service, the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization.


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