It’s amazing how many options we have for drinking water. We can choose to have it filtered from the tap, straight from the tap, from a bottle, from a well, from a fountain… It boils down to what we prefer in taste and what we are worried about consuming; most specifically fluoride.

Fluoride has been a hot topic of controversy when it comes to public drinking water and the benefits versus consequences of consuming it.

Although fluoride is a mineral naturally found throughout the earth, scientists discovered that adding and adjusting the precise amount of fluoride in community water sources, dramatically improved the oral health of tens of millions of Americans. This is called fluoridation. According to the American Dental Association, Grand Rapids, Michigan became the world’s first city to adjust the level of fluoride in its water supply over sixty years ago in an effort to prevent or minimize dental decay.

Fluoride is completely safe and effective, in proper doses. Studies show that community water fluoridation has reduced tooth decay in children and adults by 25 percent. Since tooth decay is a disease, it can have consequences on overall health.

Fluoride acts as a disruption of the process of tooth decay by strengthening the structure of developing tooth enamel so that it is more resistant to acid. This is mostly seen in children and young adults as their teeth are continuing to develop. In addition to adolescents, patients with dry mouth, gum disease, frequent cavities, and the presence of crowns, bridges or braces also benefit from fluoride.

A lot of the controversy with fluoridation is that the dose goes to everyone, which cannot be controlled and may have side effects that are not beneficial such as acute toxicity or poisoning.

This is mainly due to unsupervised ingestion of products for dental and oral hygiene and overfluoridated water.

Fluoride is not only found in water but can also be directly applied to the teeth through dental products. You can also acquire stronger concentrations of fluoride rinses and pastes that require a doctor’s prescription.

We encourage patients to learn more about fluoride and that the benefits out weigh the rare and unlikely risks. Dr. Kimes is knowledgeable on the topic and can provide insight to any questions or concerns on the use of fluoride.