Thoughtful Parenting: Benefits of fluoride

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— Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in water. According to the American Dental Association, fluoride helps prevent cavities in children and adults by being a natural cavity fighter. Fluoride helps resist the attacks of acid that causes cavities. Fluoride can remineralize the enamel to help repair tooth decay in the early stages.

Thoughtful Parenting

This weekly column about parenting issues is written by local early childhood experts. It publishes on Mondays in the Steamboat Today. Read more columns here.

A few of the ways you can benefit from fluoride is systemically and topically. Systemically involves drinking water from a public water supply. While teeth are forming, the fluoride you take in from drinking water helps to strengthen and make the teeth more resistant to cavities. Another way is topically, which can be applied in the dental office or by using toothpaste and mouthwash. The combination of fluoridated water and topical applications rebuilds weakened tooth enamel.

Contrary to public belief, water fluoridation is not only safe and effective, but it is also cost-saving and the least expensive way to deliver the benefits of fluoride to all residents of a community. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, for larger communities of more than 20,000 people, it costs about 50 cents per person to fluoridate the water. It is also cost-effective because every $1 invested in this preventive measure yields approximately $38 savings in dental treatment costs.

In the 1930s, dental scientists documented that the occurrence and severity of tooth decay were lower among people whose water supplies contained higher levels of natural fluoride. Studies followed and discovered that fluoride, when present in the mouth, can become concentrated in plaque and saliva, helping to prevent the breakdown of enamel minerals.

In 1945, a city in Michigan added fluoride to its city water system. Community water fluoridation adjusted the amount of fluoride in an area's water supply to a level that helped to prevent tooth decay and promoted oral health. Since then, numerous scientific studies and comprehensive reviews have continually recognized fluoridation as an effective way to prevent tooth decay.

Currently, more than 204 million people in the United States are served by public water supplies containing enough fluoride to protect teeth. Even so, approximately 100 million Americans do not have access to fluoridated water.

Healthy People is the plan that sets health goals for the nation. This plan calls for about 80 percent of the population to be served by optimally fluoridated community water systems by 2020. The current population with access to fluoridated water is approximately 74 percent.

Stated by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the widespread availability of fluoride through water fluoridation, toothpaste and other sources, has resulted in the steady decline of dental caries throughout the United States.

Fluoridation Basice. (n.d.). Retrieved December 19, 2013, from Center for Disease Control Prevention : http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/basics/index.htm

Fluoride. (2013). Retrieved December 2013, 2013, from American Dental Association : http://www.mouthhealth.org/en/az-topics/f/fluoride

Lyndi Smith RDH, is associated with the Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition, which is a partner of First Impressions of Routt County, our local early childhood council.

Comments

Bob Smith 6 months, 3 weeks ago

man I can't wait to read all the comments that will inevitably follow this article. what's fascinating to me is that the folks who buy into these crazy conspiracy theories - like the ones surrounding fluoride - tend to believe in many if not all conspiracy theories - they don't usually just stop at one. it must be tough living in a world where drinking water has poison in it and airplanes are constantly flying overhead spraying poisonous chemicals on us and our government is mass murdering its own citizens. and yet they do nothing about it. that's got to produce some serious cognitive dissonance!

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Brian Kotowski 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Flouridation: the most monstrously conceived and dangerous communist plot we have ever had to face, to sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids.

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bill schurman 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Pray tell, how did the commies get involved in this ? Please explain.

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Brian Kotowski 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Dude. Follow the links and grow a sense of humor.

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John Fielding 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm not buying the conspiracy, but I do think it should be an individual decision to add fluoride to one's intake.

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john bailey 6 months, 3 weeks ago

ever been to the xit plant west of town ? do you know they return that water back to the drinking supply and water the hay in the field, and your worried about fluoride...... I should know , I took part in the expansion years ago, man it would gag a maggot, if you could've only have seen the things I saw.........you'd loose your hula.....~;0)

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John Weibel 6 months, 3 weeks ago

The biggest problem with Fluoride in a city water system is that no one knows what any one individuals daily intake is.

-- EPA's bid to wind down legal use of sulfuryl fluoride, citing the health risk to children posed by aggregate fluoride exposure, marks a long-awaited victory by the three public-health groups that first asked the agency to rein in the pesticide more than five years ago. --

-- ABSTRACT: Prolonged administration of a daily dose of 5-10 mg. of fluoride to patients with hyperthyroidism may cause clinical improvement together with a significant fall in the level of plasma protein-bound iodine and a reduction in the basal metabolic rate.--

So we have the EPA concerned about aggregate levels of fluoride exposure and the treatment of hypothyroidism with fluoride. We seem to have more and more obesity, maybe the excess of fluoride from all sources is causing the metabolic rates of kids to slow down.

Most drugs, that is what this is the addition of a prescription drug to the water supply, are monitored based upon the individual, some get a larger dose than others. The water district decides that it needs to reduce the amount of Fluoride in the water, because it is hot in the summer and they know that too much is bad and people drink more water in the summer - thus they do not need as much.

Well who knows how much fluoride exposure came from other sources? There are a myriad of other sources for fluoride to enter ones system.

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