How Fluoride Affects Your Dental Health
Fluoride is a naturally occurring compound found in many types of rocks. The fluoride that is added to drinking water in the US is typically from chemicals produced as a byproduct of industry called silicofluorides at about 1 part per million (1 ppm), or slightly less. Water that contains naturally occurring fluoride varies by location but generally occurs at a lower lever, about 0.3 ppm.
The reason fluoride is added to drinking water is to help protect our dental health, particularly for populations that don’t have adequate dental care or are not using fluoridated toothpaste.
Tooth enamel is essentially composed of hydroxylapatite, a crystal compound of calcium, phosphorus, hydrogen, and oxygen. Fluoride swaps out the hydroxyl molecule in the
hydroxylapatite with fluorine, which better protects enamel from acid produced by bacteria in our mouths.
Tooth decay has declined in the United States since the fluoridation program began in the 1940’s.
Despite this, the best source of fluoride may be in toothpaste. According to research conducted during the last decade, fluoride is most effective when applied topically.
Of the 30 largest cities in the United States, 29 add fluoride to their water supply, including Cincinnati.
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