Fluoridated water is of no benefit to adults. Fluoride in the water only benefits children, whose teeth are still forming. I grew up in a non-fluoridated area. Parents could get fluoride supplements and give them to their children if they wanted. In my 26 years as a dental hygienist, I’ve found that lots of kids get too much fluoride in their system, not from the fluoride in the water, but from accidentally ingesting toothpaste. If an adult wants the decay preventing benefits of fluoride, get a TOPICAL fluoride treatment after your dental cleaning. Or else, get a prescription strength fluoride rinse or brush-on paste. Supervise children carefully when they brush. The toothbrush only needs a pea-sized dab of toothpaste. Another thing that helps prevent cavities is to floss your child’s teeth. Kids generally don’t have the manual dexterity to floss their own teeth until about the age of 9. If you are adamant about minimizing your child’s fluoride exposure, good oral hygiene is a must!
Fluoridated water and treatments may be extremely beneficial to adults. Dental caries on the roots of adult teeth can be difficult to restore, especially if the caries is in the mesial, distal, facial and lingual root surfaces of a tooth. The restoration of root caries on anterior teeth can be a challenge and very costly. Many years ago the standard for the dental industry was to discontinue fluoride treatments at age 18. For the last 20 years the leaders in dentistry highly recommend fluoride treatments for adults that continue to suffer dental caries. I have over 40 years as a dentist and a dental scientist and encourage adults that continue to suffer decay and/or demonstrate significant root surfaces exposed to the oral environment to receive regular fluoride treatments. It is important for all of us to understand that dental caries (tooth decay) is the number one disease suffered by humans. Numerous scientific studies have demonstrated that the best prevention of dental caries is a diet with no sugar or extremely low sugar. The next level is adequate oral hygiene. Please understand that a sugar diet will over ride the benefits of excellent oral hygiene to the extent that dental caries will be observed in this combination. The third area of defense of dental caries is adequate fluoride therapy. Once again, the benefits of excellent oral hygiene and fluoride therapy can be overcome by a sugar diet. The next area of defense is the surgical removal of the dental caries and replace the area of removal with a restoration. The restoration is not the ultimate in that the restoration can suffer recurrent dental caries. Therefore, the best we can do for our patients to prevent dental caries is to encourage behavior modification of the sugar diet for those that continue to suffer dental caries. Most dental practices do not promote a behavior modification program because it is difficult to modify behavior and patients do not wish to pay for it. Dental caries is a preventable disease and it is simply easier for the dentist to treat the disease then to modify the behavior that causes the disease.
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