Fluoride, an element found naturally in a number of common foods, protects teeth from the harmful effects of demineralization. Demineralization, a process by which minerals in tooth enamel are lost to acid formed by bacteria in the mouth, strips the teeth of their protective covering. As a result, the teeth become more prone to infection and decay.
We are pleased to announce that we now offer fluoride treatments at the Framingham family dentistry of Dr. Janice Spada. First, let’s debunk some common myths about fluoride and its role in cavity prevention.
Myth: Only Children Benefit From Fluoride Treatments
Although we most commonly administer fluoride treatments to children, some adults benefit from additional fluoride. Examples of conditions that would justify fluoride supplements or treatments in older patients include:
- Severe dry mouth, or xerostomia
- Periodontal disease
- Frequent cavities, i.e. more than one in a year
- Celiac disease, which adversely impacts tooth enamel
- Those who have metal braces, bridges, or crowns
Myth: There’s no such thing as too much fluoride.
Just as too little fluoride increases the risk of developing tooth decay, too much fluoride can be just as problematic. Dental fluorosis, a condition that affects the developing permanent teeth, occurs when a patient receives too much fluoride, too frequently, and for too long.
Fluorosis appears as white flecks and splotches on the tooth enamel, and in severe cases can create deep pitting on the tooth surface. Left untreated, these changes can become permanent, creating a mottled appearance on the teeth.
The good news is that dental fluorosis only affects developing permanent teeth. Once the permanent teeth have fully developed and erupted through the gums, they are impervious to fluorosis. For most children, this happens around the age of 8 years old.
Myth: All drinking water contains fluoride.
Not quite. Most major cities add fluoride to public drinking water, and fluoridated drinking water accounts for 60-70% of public water supplies in the United States. This also fails to take into account the fact that most bottled drinking water does not contain fluoride. Major water bottlers, citing concerns about taste, generally add other minerals, save for fluoride.
This means that children who mostly drink bottled water may not be receiving adequate fluoride on a daily basis. Children who live in areas that do not have fluoridated water supplies may be candidates for fluoride treatments. If you are not sure whether your local water supply is fluoridated, you can search by county on the NCCD website, here.
Questions about fluoride treatment in Framingham, MA? To learn more about cavity prevention, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Janice Spada, contact our Framingham area dentist office at (978) 443-3111.