Since the early 20th century, scientists have been studying the effects of fluoride in relation to tooth decay and cavities and discovering that it can remineralize the enamel of teeth and help make them more resistant to decay. Scientists began linking fluoride that occurred naturally in water supplies to lower levels of tooth decay in those communities. The city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was the first community in the entire world to add fluoride to its water supply in 1945 and many communities have followed suit. Here’s what you need to know if you’re still asking: “Is water a good source of fluoride?”
After cities began adding fluoride to their water supplies, more studies came in. There were lower rates of cavities in children. It seemed to be working. Some subsequent studies worldwide have not shown as promising results, though, from cities that add fluoride vs. those that don’t. That’s why many dentists recommend supplementing fluoride from other sources, rather than relying solely on tap water for our fluoride needs. While the answer to the question: “Is water a good source of fluoride?” may be yes, there are other sources to consider.
Other Sources of Fluoride
Did you know that fluoride is a mineral that is contained naturally in many foods? Foods high in fluoride, along with many other minerals and vitamins that promote strong and healthy teeth, include spinach, potatoes, grapes and wine and black tea.
It may be difficult to get high enough amounts of fluoride from the food and drinks we consume, though, so dentists also usually recommend making sure to select toothpastes and other dental care products made with added fluoride. Your dentist may also be able to provide a concentrated fluoride treatment for your teeth, typically applied as a foam or a varnish that is painted on after a dental cleaning.
Ask Your Dentist
It’s especially important that children get enough fluoride as their teeth develop to help keep their smile healthy, strong and free from cavities or tooth decay. If you’re concerned that you or your child are not getting enough fluoride, call your dentist to make an appointment and ask if additional fluoride treatments are necessary or for recommendations on products with added fluoride such as toothpastes, flosses or mouthwashes.
Is water a good source of fluoride? Yes it is, but it isn’t the only or best source of fluoride. Be sure to ask your dentist how to manage your family’s fluoride intake for the best impact on your oral health.
Call our Traverse City Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.