Research continues to show that fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral found in most water sources, is an effective and safe way to prevent cavities in both children and adults when used appropriately. It can help to remineralizer or repair teeth that show early signs of decay.
Fluoride can help strengthen your teeth and fight against cavities. You can apply fluoride directly to your teeth. In fact, you effectively do this every time you brush your teeth as most toothpastes contain fluoride. However, there are rinses and pastes with higher fluoride content that your dentist can prescribe to you if you require more serious fluoride treatment. During your cleanings, you can ask your dental hygienist to apply a fluoride varnish. This helps prevent decay and provides a desensitizing effect for patients who suffer from sensitive teeth.
Fluoride can also be attained through systemic intake. Most of the United States has access to fluoridated water; however, most of Utah does not. Therefore, fluoride tablets can be taken daily to provide benefits similar to that of fluoridated water. You will need a prescription and must be diligent with taking the tablets daily for this method to be effective. Children and teenagers may specifically benefit from systemic fluoride as their teeth are developing.
Due to political issues, Utah has yet to initiate a fluoridation program. Common arguments against fluoride include lack of need, water purity, environmental concerns, toxicity, and individual freedom. However, these objections are based on poor science and a lack of understanding. Water fluoridation would help Utah residents save money and prevent painful experiences for most children and adults. Until Utah adopts a comprehensive fluoridation program, speak with your dentist about other sources of fluoride and how to protect your teeth.