Numerous studies have demonstrated that fluoride helps protect our teeth from decay; however, new research appears to suggest that we may have been misinformed about this beneficial compound.
Does it Really Make Teeth Stronger?
For decades, scientists and health professionals believed that fluoride provided cavity protection by re-mineralizing tooth enamel. Recently, however, modern studies have found that fluoride lacks the ability to penetrate deep enough to make that sort of impact. These new revelations left scientists scratching their heads; after all, countless studies have shown increased tooth decay in people who live in areas without fluoridated water.
After a thorough test aimed at assessing fluoride’s impact on cavity prevention, researchers from Saarland University stumbled upon an interesting revelation. According to them, the compound appears to ward off cavities by inhibiting bacterial adhesion. To test their assessment, the researchers used three common types of oral bacteria: Staphylococcus carnosus, Streptococcus oralis and Streptococcus mutans. Ultimately, they found that fluoride presence kept the bacteria from sticking to teeth; in fact, fluoride worked so well at preventing bacterial adhesion, simple spitting and rinsing allowed subjects to clear their mouths of the vast majority of bacteria.
Good, But Not Enough
Most Americans live in areas that provide fluoridated water. Unfortunately, despite its merits, fluoride isn’t enough to keep dental problems from occurring. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 50 percent of U.S. adults have some form of periodontal disease and one in five has an untreated cavity. Sadly, when left untreated, these problems can lead to serious issues, such as tooth loss, infections and bone resorption. Fortunately, by getting regular teeth cleanings and exams, you can prevent minor problems from ballooning into huge, painful, expensive difficulties. Don’t let minor dental issues quietly develop into major problems. Contact Drs. Ken and Marnie Collins for regular six-month cleanings and checkups.