Thursday, September 27, 2012

Blog of the Day: The Importance of Fluoride

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in rock, soil, plants and water sources. "Water fluoridation" is the controlled addition of fluoride to a community's water supply to adjust the amount of fluoride to a level that is ideal for dental health. Natural sources of water, such as seawater, can contain much higher levels of fluoride than the level of fluoride added to community water supplies.

How were the dental benefits of fluoride discovered?

In the early 1900s, a dentist in Colorado noticed that most local people had very little tooth decay. Research eventually linked the lack of tooth decay in the community to the natural levels of fluoride in the water supply. When another small town in Michigan achieved a dramatic reduction in tooth decay after adding fluoride to the town water supply in 1945, the world soon followed.
In 1953 Beaconsfield, Tasmania (now famous for its mine rescue) became the first Australian town to adopt water fluoridation and all Australian capital cities except Brisbane followed in the 1960's and 70's. The Queensland town of Townsville fluoridated its water supply in 1963, with subsequent studies showing that children in Townsville have significantly fewer cavities than children in Brisbane.
How does fluoride work?

Tooth decay begins when acids in plaque damage the outer surface of the tooth (the enamel). Fluoride acts in three main ways to strengthen teeth and make them more resistant to tooth decay:
It improves the chemical structure of the enamel, making it more resistant to acid attack.
It reduces the ability of the bacteria on your teeth to produce acid.
It promotes repair of any early damage to the enamel.
Research over the past fifty years has shown conclusively that fluoride at the recommended levels in the water supply strengthens teeth and protects them against decay. Other benefits include the saving of time and money that people need to spend on dentistry.
Is fluoride safe?

At the recommended level of around 1mg/litre, or one part per million, there is no scientific evidence of any harmful effects from fluoride in our water supply. According to the World Health Organisation, fluoridation of public water supplies is the most effective public health measure for the prevention of dental decay. Water fluoridation is recognised as one of the ten most significant public health measures of the 20th century.

Who benefits most from water fluoridation?

People of all ages can benefit from community water fluoridation. Fluoride has special benefits during tooth development so it is especially important to get the right amount of fluoride as a child. For adults who wish to keep their natural teeth throughout their lives, daily fluoride plays a continuing role in keeping teeth healthy.
How much fluoride do I need?

Drinking fluoridated water throughout the day is the safest and most cost effective way to ensure your teeth get the benefits of fluoride. Using fluoride toothpaste everyday increases the benefits. This combination is considered optimum for most people. For children under six years of age, daily intake of fluoridated water and a low fluoride (400 or 500 ppm) toothpaste is recommended. From age six, children should begin using fluoridated adult toothpaste. Some individuals may need additional fluoride to maintain good dental health. A dental professional can advise on other sources of fluoride that would be helpful for such individuals.

Article from: ahm.com

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10 comments:

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    Dental public health is the study of dental epidemiology and social health policies.
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