Articles

The importance of fluoride

  • One of the most common, yet largely preventable chronic diseases in children is tooth decay, and while fluoride plays a significant role in fortifying tooth enamel, which in turn prevents decay, a majority of parents don’t subscribe to in-office fluoride treatments. This is because they don’t have enough dental insurance to cover the costs. For this reason, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has recommended that all children, particularly those who are at risk of having tooth decay, should receive specialised fluoride treatments. The organisation has also put in place a dental discount plan that would make it easy for most parents to afford this service.

    What is fluoride?

    Fluoride is a monoatomic anion of fluorine – inorganic, i.e. without carbon - and is the simplest anion of the element, fluorine. It is a compound that occurs naturally in water as well as in many foods.

    According to several studies on the importance of fluoride which was conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO), it was deduced that fluoride prevents cavities in the teeth and a conclusion was reached that adding fluoride to water minimises tooth decay.

    Over 170 million individuals in the United States of America make use of fluoridated water which is made available by the water authorities. Every day, minerals are added to a tooth’s enamel (re-mineralisation) and lost (demineralisation) when acids formed from sugars and plaque bacteria in the mouth attack the enamel. Re-mineralization involves the re-deposition of minerals such as calcium, phosphate, and fluoride to the enamel via water and foods. Tooth decay arises as a result of excess demineralisation without a corresponding re-mineralisation to repair the enamel.

    Fluoride’s significant role in strengthening and protecting the teeth cannot be overemphasised as it boosts the durability and strength of our teeth. The chemical compound is also responsible for ensuring the healthy development of the bones as well as the growth of our nails and hair.

    Most of the time, there are high concentrations of fluoride on the outer layer of the teeth, but over time, the chemical compound dissolves. One of the best ways, therefore, to strengthen tooth enamel is to ingest fluoridated beverages as well as from the application of toothpaste (with fluoride). Fluoride treatments or rinses also help to prevent the action of acids that trigger the creation of cavities in the teeth.

    Benefits of fluoride

    As stated by the American Dental Association (ADA), the extensive availability of multiple sources of fluoride has worked significantly to minimise cases of tooth decay in the United States and abroad.

    Fluoride is beneficial in that is increases the hardness of tooth enamel and also reduces the sensitivity of the enamel to the influence of acids, sugar, and other dental antagonists that come in contact with the teeth.

    Fluoride is also very useful in hindering the creation as well as the development of dental calculus and plaque. Fluoride is also helpful in the formation of wholesome tooth enamel, and this is the primary reason why fluoride treatment is regularly recommended for young kids.

    Furthermore, fluoride toughens the teeth by preventing dental caries from starting and tooth decay caused by the breakdown of carbohydrates as well as the acid that is present in sugars. Whichever areas are already weakened by these acids, fluoride works as a curative output as it re-mineralises those areas efficiently. Thus, fluoride’s efficacy in reversing tooth decay is almost second to none.

    People with teeth conditions such as gum disease – gingivitis or periodontitis – dry mouth, frequent cavities, etc. are already at risk of tooth decay unless they undergo fluoride treatment as soon as possible.

    Sources of fluoride

    The following are the sources of fluoride:

    • Fluoride toothpaste– Children from two years of age and up, as well as adults, are advised by the American Dental Association (ADA) to make use of only fluoride toothpaste that comes with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
    • Community water– The Center for Disease Control and Prevention have always considered the fact that the fluoridation of community water is one of the most significant communal health achievements in this century. The fluoridation of community water has always been in existence for over fifty years and was made so that the fluoride content in water will be adjusted to the ideal level to enhance dental health. Besides your home water supply, you can also drink fluoridated water from bottled water, at your workplace, in schools, etc.
    • Mouth rinses– The ADA also recommends the use of fluoride mouth rinses, though not for children below six years of age. This is because rinses are designed to be sluiced in the mouth and spat out. Such mouth rinses can be purchased over the counter.
    • Fluoride supplements– These dietary fluoride supplements, in the form of lozenges, tablets, and drops, are available only on prescription. They are usually prescribed for use by children from the ages of six months to sixteen years who are living in communities with no fluoridated water or who are at risk of developing tooth decay.
    • Fluorides in foams, gels, and rinses– Dentists are the only qualified persons who can professionally apply fluorides in foams, gels or rinses. These forms of fluorides are more concentrated than the common ones, and therefore less frequently used.

    In conclusion, prevention, they say, is better than cure; it is less expensive and less complicated to prevent tooth decay than to cure it. This is why it is essential to pay attention to the use of fluoride as its benefits to the health of your teeth cannot be quantified.

    Having read the importance of fluoride, why not check out this article about the benefit of olive oil?

    Bibliography

    Roberts K. (2017, March 21). The Importance of Fluoride Treatment. Retrieved December 13, 2017,  from the Web

    Nordqvist C. (2016, January 11). Fluoride: Uses, Effects and Controversies. Retrieved December 13, 2017,  from the Web

    Wilkinson D. (2016, May 13). Importance of Fluoride for Teeth. Retrieved December 13, 2017,  from the Web

Recent Articles

  • Stereotypes: Two sides of the coin

    Posted Jun 30

    Stereotypes. They are everywhere. They cut across colour, race, gender, economic status, educational background. Everything. More often than not, they are the first things we know before we even discover who we are. Stereotypes are the identities that other people give...

  • Drug abuse in northern Nigeria: Challenges and way forward

    Posted Jun 30

    As a country that brags about its morality and takes pride in cultural and religious practices, Nigeria sure has a lot of vices to count on its fingers. Drug abuse is a leading problem and one of the most dangerous sources of destruction for the youths, especially the n...

  • Gender disparity begins at home

    Posted Jun 23

    UNICEF data shows that girls, mostly between the ages of 5-14 spend about 550 million hours of their lives on household chores, which is said to be 160 more hours than boys of the same age group. The sad thing about all this is that in almost all societies, this is cons...

  • Graphical User Interface: An overview of Java Swing interface as a GUI

    Posted Jun 22

    Graphical User Interface otherwise known as GUI (pronounced either as G.U.I or gooey) is an interface of electronic devices - computers, mobile devices, and other digital devices such as games - that uses graphical images, icons and other visual indicators to interact w...

View All

Random Articles

  • 11 powerful reasons why you should keep a blog or website

    Posted September 16, 2018

    There are non-exhaustive reasons why millions of people all over the world keep blogs or websites no matter their occupation, background, age and orientation on many different niches and field. The Internet space where you get to post your thoughts and observations...

  • How effective time management can lead you to academic excellence as a student

    Posted September 14, 2018

    Most students out there start every new academic year with high expectations of making straight A’s in their academics. But a majority of them fail to establish routines or create and follow realistic plans that will enable them to achieve academic excellence. Des...

  • Five effective time management tips for professionals

    Posted September 12, 2018

    Time management in every course of life is a secret to success. No one can achieve goals and target without following the timetable. Effective time management is must to be effective and productive. For professionals, it becomes more important to manage time. It is not ...

  • 7 opportunities online you don’t want to miss

    Posted September 17, 2018

    Just how many hours do you spend online every day? Now how many of those hours are dedicated to aimlessly, blindly searching for things that add no personal gain (financial, educational, social or otherwise) to your person? Plenty, I suppose. It is not enough to be Inte...

View All