There is currently a draft recommendation under consideration by the US Preventative services Task Force. The recommendation is that primary care clinicians prescribe oral fluoride supplementation starting at age 6 months for children whose water supply is deficient in fluoride, and apply fluoride varnish to the primary teeth of infants and children starting at the age of primary tooth eruption.
Fluoride is a hot topic in many areas. To help you understand the topic here are a few facts.
Fluoride is a mineral found in food, water, plants and toothpaste. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste and drinking fluoridated water helps to protect teeth against decay.
Fluoride is a natural substance. Fluoride is not a medication. It is a mineral found naturally in rock, air, soil, plants and water. All fresh and sea water contains some fluoride.
Many foods and drinks naturally contain fluoride. It is also added to:
- Drinking water, where fluoride is added to the local water supply
- Fluoride toothpastes, gels and mouth rinses
- Fluoride products painted on the teeth by a dental professional.
Water fluoridation helps protect teeth against decayTooth decay occurs when acid attacks the surface of the tooth. Fluoride helps repair any damage before it becomes serious. A constant low-level supply of fluoride is best for this. Fluoride in your drinking water is like a constant ‘repair kit’ for your teeth.
Fluoride is helpful because it:
- Helps protect against tooth decay in children and adults
- Repairs weak spots that could become cavities (holes in teeth) on the surface of the tooth
- Reduces the amount of money people need to spend on dental treatment
- Saves the community money and time (away from work and school)
- Reduces discomfort and pain caused by tooth decay
- Provides a benefit to all people, especially individuals from low socioeconomic communities, who have less access to other forms of fluoride treatments.
I ensured my children had access to either a fluoridated water supply, and when we did not we provided fluoride supplementation. The science is definitely on the side of tougher teeth!