Fluoride is a mineral compound that contains the element flourine plus another substance, for example, sodium which makes sodium fluoride. This mineral helps to build strong teeth and bones and to reduce tooth decay. Fluoride may be applied directly on the teeth (topical fluoride) or as a supplement that is taken by mouth (systemic fluoride). The fluoride that is applied to the teeth gets incorporated into the enamel which makes it more resistant to erosion by acids than original enamel. Topical fluorides are found in toothpastes, gels, foams, mouthwashes and varnishes. Most dental care products now contain fluoride. Systemic fluoride is added to drinking water in many cities in the US and is available in a prescription drug. It is gradually incorporated into growing bones and developing tooth enamel. Systemic fluoride is secreted in the saliva which exposes teeth to fluoride as saliva is produced.
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Stacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered
Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens teeth and prevents tooth decay. Your dentist or doctor may prescribe fluoride if it is not in your regular tap water. (Well water, for example, does not have fluoride added.) Fluoride medication may come as a gel, cream (toothpaste), tablet, chewable tablet, or a liquid that you can add to fruit juice. Follow the label instructions carefully and only take the fluoride dosage that is prescribed. Even when taking fluoride medication, you still need to brush your teeth at least twice a day and after meals, using a fluoride toothpaste. Also, be sure to floss at least once a day.
Fluoride is a chemical that is added to public water supply by many local governments in order to prevent tooth decay. Water fluoridation is the practice of adding supplemental fluoride in the form of sodium fluoride (NaF) to the water supply in order to help prevent dental caries in the general population.
Fluoride is a slightly altered, or ionic, form of the chemical element fluorine.
In 1951, two researchers from Indiana University published an article in the Journal of Nutrition, which reported that fluoride prevented tooth decay in rats fed corn and sugar. Following this paper, the University sold its fluoridation technology to Procter & Gamble, and the chemical was added to Crest® toothpaste.
Fluoride compounds, such as calcium fluoride, are naturally occurring in drinking water and foods and usually in very small amounts. Today, fluoride is generally consumed in supplemental form because it is added to drinking water by many municipal governments.
Most major health advocacy organizations and government agencies support adding moderate amounts of fluoride to water in order to lower community rates of dental complications. At present, Dannon is the only company in the United States that adds fluoride to its bottled water.
Although there is strong scientific evidence suggesting that water fluoridation is safe, some individuals and advocacy organizations oppose water fluoridation, citing anecdotal evidence that the ingestion of the chemical may damage the brain and increase the risk for bone cancer in adolescent boys.
The American Dental Association and the World Health Organization currently recommend raising the amount of fluoride in water supplies to an amount slightly above levels currently established by most worldwide municipal governments. Currently, municipal governments add fluoride to water at a rate of 0.7-1.2 parts per million. The controversy surrounding the potential adverse effects of fluoride are focused upon its addition or reduction in municipal water supplies.
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Healthwise answeredFluoride is a mineral that helps prevent tooth decay. It is added to local water supplies, toothpastes, and other mouth care products.
Fluoride controls bacteria and makes teeth stronger and more resistant to decay. Fluoride also helps repair teeth that have already been slightly damaged by plaque.
Fluoride supplements are available by prescription if concentrations in the local water supply are too low. Usually, fluoride levels are only low in well water and some water supplies in rural areas.
Normal amounts of fluoride added to public water supplies and bottled water are safe for children and adults. If your child needs extra fluoride, your dentist may recommend supplements. Use these supplements only as directed. And keep them out of reach of your child. Too much fluoride can be toxic and can stain a child's teeth.
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Discovery Health answeredFluoride is a compound added to most tap water supplies, most brands of toothpaste and most mouth rinses to reduce cavities. As teeth develop, fluoride becomes incorporated into them and makes them more resistant to decay. After teeth are formed, fluoride can help reverse the progress of early cavities. Sometimes, fluoride will prevent the need for corrective dental treatment.
The recent drop in the number of cavities can be attributed largely to the addition of fluoride in our drinking water. Mass water fluoridation has proven to be the most cost-effective measure available to reduce tooth decay. The Environmental Protection Agency has found that the acceptable concentration of fluoride in tap water is 0.7 to 1.2 parts per million. Levels significantly higher have been associated with discolorations of the teeth (usually a chalky white color) known as fluorosis.
Those who live in areas without fluoridated water -- or those who are very susceptible to cavities can ask their dentist about a high concentration, in-office fluoride treatment or a prescribed fluoride supplement. The supplement comes either as a gel, in tablets or drops. Sometimes, customized trays can be used during sleep to deliver higher doses of fluoride and help to strengthen teeth.
Riverside Cancer Care Center answeredFluoride is the name given to a group of compounds that are composed of the naturally occurring element fluorine and one or more other elements. Fluorides are present naturally in water and soil.
This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute.