Fluoride. This naturally occurring mineral has been a hot topic for decades, leading many patients to be uncertain of anything other than its controversy. After all, what is it exactly? How does it work? Is it really beneficial? Fortunately, you can find the answers to all these questions below, which will help you be prepared the next time your dental hygienist asks if you’d like a fluoride treatment in Memorial.
The Discovery of a Mysterious Disorder
Fluoride research began in 1901 when a young dentist began practicing in Colorado Springs, CO. Shortly after opening the doors, he realized that patient after patient had distinct brown splotches of color on their teeth. While the locals blamed it on everything from eating too much pork to consuming substandard milk, the young Dr. McKay had a hunch it was something else: the water supply. Although it would be another 30 years until he found the answer, in 1931, state-of-the-art equipment found that towns consuming water with incredibly high levels of fluoride struggled with “Colorado Brown Stain.” Fortunately, the head of the Dental Hygiene Unit at the National Institute of Health at the time, Dr. Dean, discovered that fluoride levels up to 1.0 ppm in drinking water did not result in enamel fluorosis.
Fluoride: Then and Now
Once Dr. Dean made that crucial discovery, he began to look back at McKay’s initial research. Upon doing so, he stumbled across a crucial finding in one of their early studies: although the teeth were stained, they were unusually resistant to decay. This led him to wonder whether the appropriate, safe amount of fluoride would help prevent cavities. After extensive testing in the subsequent years, Grand Rapids became the first city in the world to add fluoride to its public water supply. The result? The rates of decay in children dropped by 60%!
How Fluoride Works
All these years later, extensive research is still underway on how exactly fluoride works to promote pristine oral health. According to Scientific American, its chemical makeup effectively binds tooth enamel, making it an incredibly effective topical antidote, which is why it is added to toothpaste.
How Your Dentist Can Help
Your dentist is your teeth and gums’ greatest ally. So, if you are unsure whether you should be using a fluoride-rich toothpaste or if you should add a fluoride treatment to your routine cleaning, just ask! Not only can they provide you with an answer based on your unique dental needs, but they can provide you with a deeper level of insight. That way, you can confidently make the best decision about your oral health!
About the Author
In 1983, Dr. Mark Gray earned his dental doctorate from the University of Texas Dental School. In addition to helping countless patients achieve pristine oral health in that time, he has become a faculty member of the prestigious Spear Education Group and a Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of fluoride or are looking for a dentist in Memorial, visit his website or give him a call at 281-493-9395.