WHAT IS FLUORIDE?
Fluoride is the ion that comes from the naturally occurring element, fluorine
Fluorine is never encountered in its free state in nature because it readily combines with other elements as fluoride compounds in the earth
Water dissolves these compounds, creating fluoride ions that are present in all water sources, including the oceans
HOW DOES FLUORIDE STOP TOOTH DECAY?
Fluoride is a potent protector of teeth and reduces the number of Cavities (Decay) an individual will develop in their life by about half
- initially when the fluoride is incorporated into the teeth during their formation and
- secondly, as Fluoridated Water, fluoridated Toothpaste and rinses wash over the surface of the erupted teeth
DOES MY WATER FILTER REMOVE FLUORIDE?
Generally speaking filters that remove fluoride are:
Reverse Osmosis Filters and
Filters That Don't:
HOW MUCH FLUORIDE IS IN TOOTHPASTE?
Children's Toothpaste contains 500 parts per million
Adult's toothpaste contains 1000 parts per million
Compared to fluoridated water which contains 1 part per million
Toothpaste should not be used by children under the age of two years
Over two years of age only a 'pea-sized' smear of toothpaste should be used as young children have not developed an adequate spit-out mechanism
WHAT IS FLUOROSIS?
Dental fluorosis is seen as small white flecks in the surface enamel of teeth. In minor cases it is usually not visible to patients but in more advanced cases it appears as large white patches or occasional pits in the tooth surface. After some years, stains may penetrate the white patches and they can appear brown.
Receiving excess doses of fluoride during the formation of teeth causes fluorosis. This can occur by eating or swallowing excessive amounts of toothpaste or exceeding the dose when taking fluoride tablets. It can also occur where there is excess fluoride in natural water supplies or a combination of all three. In extreme or severe cases of fluorosis the teeth are unsightly and may need treatment to improve their appearance.
Water fluoridation alone does not cause fluorosis but it can happen in combination with other sources of fluoride.
See http://www.ada.org.au/OralHealth/flnfront.aspx for more detailed information on fluoride and water fluoridation.