The use of fluoride has created some controversy over the years.  We can all agree that, “Ignorance breeds fear.”  Understanding more about fluoride and broadening your knowledge base will allow you to make a confident decision for you and your family about opting in (or out of) fluoride usage at future dental visits.

First of all, what is fluoride, exactly?
It’s a mineral that can be found in your bones and teeth that can also be found(naturally) in rocks, soil, plants, water and air.

When did it become a staple for treatment in a dental office?
In the early 20th century, many people were suffering from severe cavities and dental associated pain. Often, bothersome teeth were simply extracted rather than treated.  However, scientific research led to the conclusion that people who drank water with fluoride had less cavities.  Fluoride levels in water were adjusted and cavities around the country dropped by a rate of 68%.  Thus, fluoride began appearing in dental practices as well.

Why do dentists use it? 
It is most commonly used to strengthen the outer layer of the teeth to prevent cavities from forming. It also slows down tooth decay and prevents oral bacteria from growing.

Why is there controversy regarding fluoride? 
Well, in large doses, fluoride can lead to some harmful side effects.  It’s important to note, however, that dental fluoride use alone is not used in high enough doses to cause these side effects.  The best way to reduce any risk, is to make sure kids effectively spit out toothpaste (which typically contains fluoride) rather than swallowing it.  You can also choose from a large array of fluoride free toothpastes, if the risks leave you feeling anxious.  In the office, you can opt for fluoride free dental treatment as well.

All that to say, wherever you land in your decision about the fluoride argument, you can be assured that our practice will respect your choices and allow you to be the guide in your dental health journey.