Fluoride is a mineral found in food and water. Fluoride is also an essential composite of teeth’s outer layer named enamel. Additionally, fluoride helps keep your teeth strong and less vulnerable to tooth decay.
Though, these pieces of information might not tell the whole story. So, to understand fluoride’s core benefit, we must first define what is enamel’s function when it comes to oral health?
Enamel is the hardest tissue in the human body. Enamel is the outer protective layer of teeth that prevents bacteria-produced acids from corroding teeth. In short, a weak enamel leaves teeth vulnerable to bacteria attacks.
Therefore, when talking about fluoride, we refer to its primary purpose, reinforcing the enamel outer layer and enhancing its protective function. Consequentially, enamel’s main characteristic is its strength.
A secondary benefit of enamels strength regards teeth’s function chewing, biting, and crushing foods, which combined with saliva produces the alimentary bolus carrying food nutrients through the gastrointestinal tract.
Aside from its core benefits, enamel strength derives from a complex, tightly bunched oblong crystal structure formed of minerals including hydroxylapatite from calcium and phosphate, magnesium, sodium, fluorine, and carbonate.
Despite the fact that enamel’s hardness level compares in resistance to steel, this outer layer is susceptible to eroding and wear. Notwithstanding, there is nothing that can restore enamel, but fluoride comes into action, remineralizing it, and maintaining its properties.
Now that we have a clearer idea of enamel and the importance of fluoride in maintaining enamel strong, this article addresses the primary sources of fluoride and its benefits in keeping your teeth strong for many years.
What Foods and Drinks Naturally Contain Fluoride?
The good news is food contains fluoride. That is correct; fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral in fruits, vegetables, and seafood. Here we list some of the main sources of fluoride you can naturally ingest:
If you enjoy a plate full of snow crab legs accompanied by shrimp and a side with a baked potato and salad, then you have a feast with a good deal of fluoride right before you. Seafood is a delicacy and also an excellent source of fluoride.
There are so many fruits containing fluoride that the list is just enormous. However, we can name apples, bananas, cherries, peaches, pears, strawberries, and watermelons, among many fruits with fluoride. Just remember it is best if you consume your fruits raw.
Spinach is an excellent source of nutrients that include vitamin C, enhancing the immune system. Among the many sources of fluoride, spinach leaves can be part of your salad, adding extra fluoride to the list of nutrients planned in your diet.
Black Tea and Coffee
If you drink a cup of coffee every morning or you routinely have some black tea, you can rest assured you are consuming fluoride. However, you might also need to know these beverages can stain your teeth.
Other Delicious Fluoride Sources
We know grapes are fruits, but they are also part of a much greater category. So yes, wine is made of grapes, especially white wine, which is a tremendous fluoride source. Talking about other sources, you might also enjoy eating raisins.
We have previously mentioned snow crab legs and shrimp are great fluoride sources, but adding a baked potato adds some fluoride to your daily ingest requirements. And there you go; you have a delicious recipe with considerable fluoride.
Fluoride in Water
In addition to food fluoride sources, municipalities in the United States have been adding fluoride to community water since Grand Rapids in Michigan started fluoridating water in 1945
In fact, fluoridation is adding fluoride to water by adjusting it to the suggested levels to prevent tooth decay. Water fluoridation is a cost-effective process that seeks to reach 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water.
Water fluoridation has been a plausible public policy that has proven to reduce tooth decay by 25% in children and adults. However, as with any other public measure, it has also been contested and its risks continuously evaluated.
Consequently, despite the benefits of fluoride compounds in tap water, scientists have developed research to obtain evidence about the relationship between fluoride and cancer. From 1990 to 2011, researchers accumulated several studies on this matter.
Fortunately, after two decades of constant sample collections and different research methods, researchers concluded there is “no credible evidence” of an association between fluoridated drinking water and an increased risk for cancer.
Is There Fluoride in Bottled Water?
Fluoride in bottled water mainly depends on its source and characteristics. For example, bottled water might come from natural springs or community water that is further processed or treated to enhance other marketing characteristics.
As its name implies, natural spring water filters naturally through rocks that also increase mineral and salts levels on it, favoring some nutritional properties. These waters usually contain some fluoride.
Bottled water products are also produced from public water systems and further treated to eliminate traces of bacteria like deionized water or ozone filtered water.
Finally, some other water products are labeled as purified or demineralized and contain minimal traces of minerals, including fluoride. On the opposite side, depending on its main characteristics, bottled water might have fluoride as an added agent.
In summary, bottled water products may contain fluoride, depending on the source of the water. Fluoride can be naturally present in natural source water, and many public water systems add fluoride.
If you want to know about fluoride in bottled water, you can revise the label to see the estimated amount of fluoride. Also, remember the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets limits for fluoride in bottled water according to its sources.
In fact, too much fluoride might cause a condition named dental fluorosis in kids under age eight. Fluorosis is an abnormality in enamel formation caused by excessive fluoride exposure at the tooth formation stage.
In 2019, the FDA proposed a rule that sets a standard for bottled water by adjusting it to the U.S. Public Health Service’s (PHS) recommendations in community water systems. It also helps consumers avoid confusion about the accurate fluoride content in bottled water.
Toothpaste is an excellent complementary option to obtain fluoride directly. Also, fluoride kinds of toothpaste increase the concentrations of this mineral in teeth, even in areas with a fluoridated water supply.
In fact, many commercial brands label toothpaste according to properties like whitening or sensitive gum, appealing to segments with unique oral health needs. However, all American Dental Association – (ADA) approved toothpaste tubes contain fluoride.
Fluoride treatments are significantly more beneficial than getting this mineral from traditional sources. Also, people with a higher risk of getting cavities can reap the benefits of a fluoride treatment.
Furthermore, fluoride treatments are not intended for everyone and must be supervised by a professional. In fact, fluoride treatments have a high mineral concentration that requires control to prevent harmful side effects.
Accidental intake of topical (foam, gel, solution, varnish) fluoride, especially dentist office fluoride or supplements in children, might cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and other related problems. So, in short, topical fluoride is not intended for ingestion.
In summary, fluoride consumption tremendously impacts children and adults’ overall oral health by enhancing enamel’s capabilities; and protecting teeth from tooth decay, cavities, and eventual tooth loss.
Fluoride is also recommended for children under eight to fortify the newly developing permanent teeth under the gums. However, dentists recommend controlling fluoride levels to avoid a rare but eventual case of dental fluorosis.
Schedule a visit at Buckhead Atlanta Dentistry. Our staff will gladly serve you, providing detailed information about your teeth’s enamel condition, customized advice about fluoride, and any other dental health-related need you have.
Find us between Roswell Road and Lenox Road across from Barclay Condos in the Piedmont Center. Wheelchair access locates on building five side of lower-level parking.