Recently there was a lot of news about the recommendations to reduce the amount of fluoride in municipal drinking water. Studies have proven, beyond a doubt, the improvement that has occurred in the dental health of children who live in areas where fluoride was added to the drinking water. The reason for this change is the increase in number of teens who are experiencing fluorosis or staining of the teeth due to excess fluoride. I see this quite often in my practice. The most common staining is wispy white lines. While it is a minimal problem from a cosmetic view point, I still feel it needs to be addressed.
Today, we have more access to fluoride than occurred in the 40’s and 50’s. Now there is fluoride in toothpaste, some bottled waters, mouth rinses and even fluoride treatments at the dental office. The news mentioned that even the increased prevalence of air conditioners was a secondary contributor to this fluorosis. Huh? Fluoride in water, toothpaste and mouth rinse makes sense, but is there really fluoride in air conditioners?
The answer may surprise you. In the mid 20th century, the average house did not have air conditioning, and people tended to drink more water. People in the south have longer summers and obviously drank more water than their northern counterparts. Hence a range of recommended fluoride was advocated based on the location of the city. Today, home air conditioning has leveled the playing field. Now everyone drinks less water. Dentistry has always looked out for the improved dental health of the general population and home care products manufacturers have done their part too.
With all these changes, it is good to revisit the recommendations and take them into consideration. My concern, however is the rise in the consumption of pop and sports drinks. I am seeing more young adults with cavities due to these diet changes. While lowering the chances for fluorosis by decreasing our fluoride intake may be a good idea, drinking plenty of (decreased fluoride) water will help tremendously.
If you have questions about this or any dental subject, please feel free to contact us. At Mendez Family Dental we want to help you be as healthy and informed as possible. (620) 231-6070. You can find us online at www. mendezfamilydental.com. You can find us on Facebook (PittsburgDDS) and Twitter (PittsburgDDS.)