OM Samaj Dental Hospital


Is Fluoride Good or Bad for Teeth?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral which is helpful in protecting against dental cavities. However, the excessive consumption of fluoride can have deleterious effects on teeth and overall human health.

Why do we need to add fluoride to tap water and toothpaste?

Children from low-income families are more likely to get cavities, mostly because their water supplies don’t contain enough fluoride. Tooth decay is five times more common in these kids. Adding fluoride to the water supply is one strategy to prevent cavities in children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Some people are more prone to dental cavities than others. In these situations, the dentist applies fluoride directly to the tooth surface in an effort to prevent cavities. For self-application, fluoride varnishes or gels are also offered. Cavities are more common in people with salivary flow, and fluoride treatment may help avoid cavities in these people.

What are the adverse effects of fluoride on dental health?

Some areas have a naturally high concentration of fluoride in the water supply. Excessive levels of fluoride lead to dental fluorosis. Fluorosis results in the appearance of white chalky spots on the tooth surface because of hypomineralization. This results in enamel opacities and the teeth appear aesthetically unpleasant.

Fluorosis occurs when children consume high amounts of fluoride especially at the stage of tooth development. However, the intensity of this condition depends on the dose, duration, and timing of fluoride consumption. For instance, with the front teeth of the upper jaw, the most critical period is around the age of 15 to 24 months for boys and 21 to 30 months for girls.

How does fluoride prevent cavities?

A diverse range of cariogenic (cavity-causing) bacteria are present in dental plaque on the surface of the teeth, which accelerates the demineralization and loss of teeth processes. Tooth decay and cavities are caused by these bacteria, which impede teeth’s ability to repair themselves.

Additionally, several clinical studies have shown that fluoride has the ability to prevent cariogenic bacteria, such as Streptococcus mutans, from acting by lowering their production of acid in the oral cavity when it is continuously present at low concentrations.

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