Fluoride, it’s in the soil, it’s in the water, it’s in your toothpaste, and it’s even found naturally in some foods! But the debate continues. Fluoride dangers have long been a topic of conversation among moms and other health conscious consumers worried about the products they use and consume. As a dentist, I want to share my perspective. In fact, there is a direct link between the use of fluoride and improved oral health.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral and is proven to prevent cavities by strengthening tooth enamel. Taken internally by drinking fluorinated water, taking supplements, or eating foods with the nutrient, helps prevent tooth decay. Brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste, or using other dental products such as mouthwashes or having your dentist apply it topically, creates stronger, healthier teeth and prevents cavities.
Benefits of Fluoridated Water:
Water is a building block that our bodies need, which is why doctors recommend six 8 oz. servings per day for most people. We need it for hydration and to keep our bodies functioning at an optimal level. Did you know that drinking fluoridated water results in a lower risk of cavities? It’s true! Low levels of fluoride found in drinking water helps to protect tooth enamel. 75% of water is fluoridated and, after more than 60 years of public water fluoridation, there are no peer reviewed scientific studies showing that adding fluoride endangers our population because of it. In fact, just the opposite is true – studies show that those without safe, clean drinking water have some level of tooth decay, which can lead to gum disease and tooth loss.
The Centre for Disease Control credits water fluoridation as one of the most important health practices in the 20th Century, but they take it even one step further and encourage “daily and frequent exposure to small amounts of fluoride”.
Simply put, the benefits of fluoride should put concerns about fluoride dangers to rest.
Are There Fluoride Dangers To Be Worried About?
We regularly consume many toxins in small doses. For example, cyanide, a known toxin, is found in small quantities in almonds and lima beans, and yet we still eat them both! And while fluoride, in large quantities is indeed toxic, the amount in public water systems is regulated to just one part per million, a perfectly safe and time tested amount. In those public water systems where there is a higher amount of naturally occurring fluoride, it is treated to reduce the levels to that one part per million threshold.
Those concerned with fluoride dangers tend to choose natural toothpaste companies who leave fluoride out of their products. However, these companies only leave it out due to consumer concern over fluoride’s toxicity, not because fluoride is actually a problem.
Fluoride in very low doses, such as in drinking water, toothpaste, and other dental products, is beneficial, not harmful.
If you are one of the over 3 million Indians who suffer from tooth sensitivity to cold or tooth sensitivity to sweets, you may be cringing at the thought of the sugary treat. Talking to your dental professionals should be first on your to-do list for finding a solution for your tooth sensitivity, but here’s some information in the meantime.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity can come and go with time, and is usually caused by exposed dentin on root areas from gum disease and/or receded gums. Unlike the crowns of your teeth, the root area of your tooth isn’t protected by enamel, but rather cementum. When the enamel or cementum wears away the nerves within the tooth are exposed which can cause tooth sensitivity.
Common causes of erosion include:
How to Treat Tooth Sensitivity
Talk to your dentist about any tooth pain or tooth sensitivity to cold, hot, acidic or sweet drinks or foods. Tooth decay and cavities should be ruled out or treated. Your dentist may recommend an ADA approved desensitizing toothpaste or fluoride gel toothpaste for use at home. With more severe cases of tooth sensitivity, a filling, a gum graft or a root canal may be required.
You may even want to consider dietary changes, such as eliminating high-sugar soda, fruit juices and alcohol from your daily intake. And of course, you’ll need to keep up with good oral care routines to prevent future problems.
Being a diabetic makes you more prone to infections and has a poor effect on wound healing capacity of the human body, so it is mandatory to have an adequate broad spectrum antibiotic coverage before and after your dental extraction and an optimum level of blood glucose should maintained so don't skip your insulin or any oral hypoglycaemic medicines prescribed by your doctor.
The blood glucose level and/or haemoglobin A1C (HbA1c) target of a person with diabetes should be optimal before a tooth extraction, to prevent post-surgical complications.
(Fasting blood glucose level< 180 mg/dl, HbA1C value < 8%)
- Any kind of dental treatment can be performed under optimum conditions.
(Fasting blood glucose level < 180-240 mg/dl, HbA1C level < 8-10%)
- All restorative treatments can be performed.
- Simple surgical procedures can be performed.
(Fasting blood glucose level > 240 mg/dl, HbA1C level > 10%)
Risk of ketoacidosis and hypoglycaemia
- All restorative treatments can be performed only in the presence of glycaemic controls.
- Acute infections can be treated by administering antibiotics and abscess drainage when they disrupt diabetes regulation.
Uncontrolled diabetes can be a factor towards increasing healing time and place the patient at risk for infection.
Oral Changes Associated with Diabetes
Poorly controlled diabetic patients are at risk for numerous oral complications such as periodontal disease, salivary gland dysfunction, infection, and poor healing. None of these complications are unique to diabetes.
However, their presence may serve as an early clue to the possible presence of diabetes, prompting your dentist to perform or request further testing.
Periodontal Disease. Periodontal disease is a commonly observed dental problem for patients with diabetes.
Salivary Gland Dysfunction. Several changes to the salivary glands may occur in association with diabetes. The most commonly observed concern is dry mouth.
Infections. Poorly controlled diabetes can lead to a variety of tissue infections. The most commonly encountered is a yeast infection (Candida) and the presence of dry mouth further increases one’s risk.
Special Considerations for Patients with Diabetes
- Eat your normal meal prior to your appointment.
- Take all your medications on schedule.
- Follow all post-operative instructions your dentist gives you and take prescriptions as directed.
- Inform your dentist and reschedule your appointment if you are not feeling well, and check with your physician as necessary.