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When Should People Consider a Fluoride Supplement?

Posted on 6/13/2017 by Sundberg Office
A collection of fluoride pills falling out of a bottle.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring substance that helps to remineralize the teeth and helps to prevent the formation of dental caries, or cavities. Fluoride is available through many sources and is safe when taken in the correct amounts and the correct form.

However, if too much fluoride is introduced into your system it could cause a condition known as fluorosis, which is an over-mineralization of the teeth. It can cause discoloration and other unsightly tooth conditions.

So How Do You Get Fluoride?

Fluoride is available naturally through a variety of sources. First is your toothpaste. Most toothpastes today have fluoride in them. That is one reason why it is important to spit out the toothpaste rather than swallowing it. This is one danger with children's flavored toothpastes because children are tempted to swallow it rather than spit it out.

Another source of fluoride is the community water supply. In the early 20th century, researchers discovered that fluoride could help to strengthen the teeth against cavities and began introducing it into the water supply.

In areas where you have fluoridated tap water, you should have no need for a fluoride supplement. Drinking the water or preparing food with the water, along with using fluoridated toothpaste should give you a sufficient amount of fluoridation for your teeth.

So, Who Should Use Supplements?
There are two ways you can obtain fluoride; topically or systemically. Topical fluoride is generally obtained from your toothpaste or from fluoride enhanced mouthwashes. Note they are topical sources which means they are applied to the teeth, they are not ingested or swallowed.

You obtain systemic fluoride from many sources. When you drink water from a community based water supply that has fluoride added is the most common source. You also ingest it when you eat food prepared with fluoridated water or you drink bottled water that has fluoride added or is sourced from fluoridated water.

If you do not have a fluoridated community water supply contact our office. Systemic ingestion of fluoride helps growing teeth, not existing teeth, and fluoride supplements generally are only prescribed to children for that reason.

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