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The Importance of Fluoride

With passionate advocates on both sides, the debate over fluoride – namely whether it should be added to public water supplies – shows little sign of slowing down. Currently, about 70 percent of American water supplies contain fluoride, and communities that have it have been shown to experience about 25 percent fewer cavities than communities without fluoridated water. But while dentists, health advocates and some ordinary citizens can’t seem to find common ground on the issue, one fact about fluoride cannot be disputed: It helps prevent cavities.

That’s because fluoride acts as a filler, pushing its way through the tiny crevices and cracks in the tooth enamel that would normally allow a cavity to form and strengthening the enamel of tooth so that not only do new cavities not form, but in some cases the fluoride can also reverse cavities that have already begun forming.

But despite its proven efficacy, how important is fluoride in your oral health routine? A group of researchers from the University of Washington sought to answer that question.

Using fluoride studies from as far back as the 1950s, the team of researchers – led by Phillipe Hujoel, Ph.D. – sought to learn whether the intensity with which you care for your oral health is related to how many cavities you have. To do this, Hujoel and his team selected three studies from the United States and England and analyzed the data of school-aged children, some of whom used fluoride toothpaste at school and others who did not (though all subjects used fluoride toothpaste at home).

What researchers found was that there was no significant difference between the children who used fluoridated toothpaste and were more casual about their oral health routine, and children who didn’t use fluoridated toothpaste at school but who were diligent about brushing and flossing – proving that fluoride could often level the playing field, so to speak, in terms of oral hygiene.

While the fluoride debate remains a controversial one here in America, the fact remains that for over 70 years, fluoridated water has been proven to reduce the risk of cavities time and time again, and with little risk to the population.

To schedule a dental exam with Dr. Hill, please call Hill Dental Studio at (469) 640-9550.

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