Fluoride: The good and the bad

fluoride and water

This month’s blog is all about fluoride. Fluoride sometimes (unfairly) gets a bad wrap. But it does have advantages and disadvantages, so if you’d like to know more about how fluoride, in the right quantities, helps keep your teeth healthy, then read on below.

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring substance which strengthens and protects our teeth and bones. In many countries, including Australia, fluoride is added to drinking water and is present in many dental hygiene products.

While some groups argue against the use of fluoride, if used correctly there is no reason it should cause you or your family any harm.

What are the risks?

When used correctly, fluoride is highly beneficial in dental care. However, like many other beneficial substances, too much fluoride can be detrimental, in the same way that an overdose of Vitamin C or even too much water can be harmful.

So, how much is too much?

The World Health Organisation recommends no more than 1.5mg of fluoride per litre, which Australia currently recommends in its Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. Around 70% of the Australian population currently has access to fluoridated water.

Fluoride is also present in many dental products such as toothpaste, mouthwash and dental floss, as well as trace elements of fluoride found in food, water, soil, rocks and air. In some places naturally high and unsafe levels of fluoride occur in ground water. When too much fluoride is taken in there are some detrimental effects which can occur.

The most common risk associated with fluoride is Fluorosis.

Dental Fluorosis

Dental fluorosis is a discolouration of tooth enamel caused by over-mineralisation from excessive fluoride exposure. Dental Fluorosis damage tends to occur while teeth are still developing, in the first 8 years of life, which makes it very important to monitor fluoride intake levels in young children.

Dental fluorosis is a cosmetic problem, so while it leads to  discolouration, which presents as white patches or streaks on your teeth, or sometimes brown marks, teeth will still be strong and healthy.

Skeletal fluorosis

Skeletal fluorosis is a bone disease brought on by excessive exposure to fluoride. It eventually causes bones to become hard and brittle, making them more prone to factures and breakages and may also lead to stiff joints.

Skeletal fluorosis is highly unlikely to occur from normal dental processes and drinking water.  It is most prevalent in India and China where there can be very high naturally occurring levels of fluoride in the groundwater, along with other factors like industrial exposure, which can lead to a higher prevalence of skeletal fluorosis.

Other potential problems which may be associated with fluoride include:

·       Hyperthyroidism

·       Neurological problems

·       Skin problems such as acne

·       Cardiovascular issues

·       Bone and joint issues including osteoarthritis

It is important to remember that a normal, safe amount of fluoride will have ABSOLUTELY NO ILL EFFECTS on your health.  And it will have plenty of positive ones.

What are the benefits?

While its misuse may lead to unwanted side effects, safe and controlled use of fluoride is highly beneficial for your teeth. It strengthens teeth and aids repairs to help avoid cavities.

Simply by brushing your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and by drinking fluoridated water you can gain the following benefits:

Enamel remineralisation: when your tooth enamel loses minerals, it becomes weakened and more prone to cavities. Fluoride swoops in and re-mineralises your tooth enamel, depositing calcium and other minerals to strengthen the enamel.

Decay: fluroide reduces the early signs of tooth decay and reduces the growth of certain bacteria

Acid control: fluoride increases the ability of your teeth to fight off acid attack

Improved enamel quality: fluoride taken when our teeth are still developing in early childhood helps create stronger enamel which is more resistant to  demineralisation.

Who should use fluoride?

No matter what stage of life you’re at, everyone can benefit from fluoride. It is so easy to keep your fluoride intake up and give your teeth a healthy boost. You can keep your fluoride levels up by:

·       Brushing your teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste

·       Drinking fluoridated water, if available

·       Taking fluoride supplements if fluoridated water is not readily available

·       Having a fluoride treatment at your dentist.

While it’s recommended everyone makes fluoride part of their dental health routine, it is particularly important if any of the following apply to you:

·       If you are prone to or have a history of cavities and tooth decay

·       If you have a diet high in sugar

·       If you have limited access to dental services

·       If you’ve had dental procedures such as braces or crowns.

Fluoride plays a key role in the health of your teeth, and now that you know of its importance, you can include it in your oral care habits.

If you have any questions then please don’t hesitate to talk to us at your next Jannali Dental Care appointment.  We are here to help you because the quality of your oral hygiene is SO important to your overall health and well-being.

Call us anytime on 95289204 for a checkup or to discuss any dental concerns!

Our 2020 commitment to our patients

our new 2020 resolutions at jannali dental care

At the beginning of a new year, many of us set goals to have a healthier lifestyle.  We’ve all heard it……more yoga, less wine, more flossing, less Facebook etc etc etc.

At Jannali Dental Care we thought we’d mix things up a little and make some of our own resolutions for the new decade.

We spent some time brainstorming over a cuppa, and our 2020 resolutions are all about how our practice can best support YOU – our valued patients.

Here is our top 10 list – And PLEASE let us know if you think there is anything else we should add to make your dental experience an even better one.


At Jannali Dental Care we resolve to:

 

  • Always meet you with a friendly hello and a warm smile whenever you walk through our door;
  • Respect your schedule. We ensure that your appointment starts when scheduled and ends when you expect it to;
  • Respect your concerns. We know dentistry makes some people anxious. We do our best to make your visits as comfortable as possible;
  • Respond to you in a timely way, and in a way that answers any issues you have;
  • Give maximum value, giving top-notch dental services at competitive prices;
  • Stay up-to-date on current dental knowledge and techniques through ongoing education and training, and the latest technology;
  • Follow the industry-standard, or above, to provide a hygienic environment for your dental care;
  • Honestly analyse your need for treatment, and discuss viable alternatives, before making recommendations;
  • Give you a full understanding of your treatment, including accurate information on the cost.
  • Treat everyone fairly and equally, regardless of age, race, religion, creed, ethnicity, socio-economic background, or current health;
  • Continue our involvement with the local Jannali community.  We think ‘giving back’ is VERY important so expect to see us out there in 2020 and beyond.


And here’s what you can do:

 

Of course, now it’s your turn.  We have a few suggested 2020 resolutions for you!

  • Brush and floss regularly. But you already knew this, right? Oh, and that rumour about flossing extending your life, it’s true.  So, go on, floss like a boss.
  • Buy new toothbrushes four times a year. Toothbrushes have a lifespan of about three months. Making a swap at the new year will help keep your teeth clean for the next three months, and by Easter, it will be time to get another one.
  • Check-in with us. Hmmmm, if we had a dollar for every patient who said ‘I wish I’d come in earlier’, we’d be buying our own private island in the Caribbean right now.       Regular check-ups and cleans are a vital party of maintaining your dental health, and they are a resolution you can keep. Schedule your regular dental check-ups for the year, and you will be set to go!  And if you are nervous about coming to see us, remember we have twilight dentistry options (and Netflix).
  • Eat and drink properly. Avoid sugars, carbohydrates, and acids to make your dental health resolution successful. Drinking water with your snack, and rinsing after eating, make it more difficult for food to stick to your teeth.  Drink more water.  And don’t touch fizzy drinks – there are simply no winners there.
  • Quit smoking.  Say no more.
  • Reduce alcohol and coffee intake. There are multiple ways alcohol can harm your teeth. Alcohol is empty calories with high amounts of sugar to cause decay, and coffee and red wine stain your teeth.
  • Smile. We saved the easiest and quickest 2020 resolution for last. Did you know that even if you fake a smile it releases chemicals that will trick your brain and actually make you feel better TRUE.

You will be surprised how these simple tips will make a difference to your teeth, your gums and your overall general health.

And remember, even if you are ‘best friends’ with your toothbrush it’s really important to keep up with regular professional cleans and check-ups.  Nothing cleans your teeth like we do!

At Jannali Dental Care we want our practice to feel like family – so give us a call on 9528 9204 or contact us right here for an appointment. We promise we will always take good care of you and your smile.