Would you trust your doctor if he advised you to take a pill? You most probably would. But if for some reason you didn’t want to take it, you could say no.
That’s why some people hate the idea of adding fluoride to tap water, and it’s a fair point; when else are people given something for their health and not even asked if they want it?
Dentists generally love the idea because it’s an easy way to prevent tooth decay, and it’s particularly appealing in Ireland which is among the worst countries in Europe for high frequency consumption of sweets by children and adolescents. It’s thought using fluoride toothpaste isn’t enough to prevent tooth decay.
Water fluoridation has been named by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, a division of the US Department of Health, as one of the 10 great health achievements of the 20th century.
No harmful effects have been found at the dose of 0.6 to 0.8 parts per million that Irish tap water contains, and many countries around the world have similar water fluoridation schemes.
At Boyne Dental we support water fluoridation, but if you’re not sure where you stand on the issue here’s some facts about fluoride to help you decide:
What is it?
Fluoride is a natural occurring mineral compound found in water.
What are the benefits?
It prevents tooth decay and keeps bones healthy.
How does it help teeth?
• It reduces the ability of acid, formed when bacteria break sugar down, to remove minerals from tooth enamel and begin the process of decay
• In teeth already damaged by acid, fluoride accumulates in demineralised areas to strengthen the enamel – known as remineralisation
Are there any side effects from water fluoridation?
Exposure to high concentrations of fluoride can result in tiny white specks in the enamel of the tooth, which is known as dental fluorosis. In severe cases the tooth develops brown markings and the enamel may become rough and pitted, making it difficult to clean.
The critical period of fluoride exposure is between one and four years of age – the risk goes away after the age of eight years. If you’re concerned your child may be exposed to too much fluoride, give them bottled water at home before the age of four.