The enamel that comprises the outer layer of your teeth may be the hardest substance in your body, but it must undergo a constant cycle of depletion and remineralization. Bacteria living in your mouth produce acid when exposed to starches and sugar, stripping the enamel and causing it to weaken temporarily. The element fluoride, which you find in several foods, fortifies the enamel and promotes absorption of minerals. Dr. Ryan Hussong, who provides children’s dentistry in Polk City, IA, now offers fluoride treatments to help build strong tooth enamel. How much do you really know about fluoride?
True or False: Children and adults both benefit from fluoride treatment.
True. Even though most patients who receive fluoride treatments are children, certain conditions justify the use of fluoride treatments for adults. For example, Dr. Hussong may recommend supplemental fluoride for patients who have gum disease, severe dry mouth, or more than one cavity per year. Patients who have celiac disease or orthodontic appliances also benefit from fluoride treatments.
True or False: You can never get too much fluoride.
False. Insufficient fluoride makes you more prone to tooth decay, but it is possible to get too much fluoride. Dental fluorosis, which affects the development of a child’s permanent teeth, is a condition that develops as the result of too much fluoride, administered too frequently, and for longer than necessary. Telltale symptoms of fluorosis include patches or specks of white on the tooth enamel. In more severe cases, the tooth surface may become deeply pitted, making it more susceptible to staining. Without treatment, discoloration becomes permanent. Fortunately, fluorosis is no longer a threat once the permanent teeth have erupted. As a result, fluorosis is usually only a problem for children up to the age of 8 years old.
True or False: Drinking plenty of water provides enough fluoride for most patients.
Not necessarily, says Dr. Hussong. Between 30-40% of public water supplies in the US are not fluoridated. You must also remember that more people of all ages are turning to bottled water to quench thirst. Most water bottlers do not add fluoride to their products, usually citing taste concerns. Therefore, a young child who only drinks bottled water, or who lives in an area with non-fluoridated water may not receive sufficient fluoride. If you aren’t sure whether your local water supply is fluoridated, you can search here on the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion website.
Do you need fluoride treatment in Polk City, IA? To learn more about fluoridated water and fluoride supplements, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ryan Hussong, contact Cornerstone Dental Group at (515) 984-6001. We welcome patients living in Ames, Ankeny, Grimes, Urbandale, West Des Moines, and the surrounding areas.