There has recently been a lot of talk about fluoride in Sonoma County, and we have noticed that many people have some unanswered questions.
What is fluoride? Fluoride is a naturally occurring compound that comes from the element fluorine. In fact, fluoride compounds are found in rocks and soil and as water passes over rock formations, fluoride ions are released into the water. This means that a varying amount of fluoride is naturally found in all water sources.
How does fluoride prevent tooth decay? Fluoride prevents tooth decay either systemically or topically. During tooth development, if you ingest fluoride either from a water source or a prescription, it will become incorporated in the structure of the developing tooth, making it less susceptible to decay. Furthermore systemic fluoride can provide a topical effect when it is released in your saliva. Topical fluoride helps protect your teeth by incorporating into weak surfaces of you teeth making them stronger. Topically applied fluoride includes toothpastes, mouthwashes, and professional applications.
Do home water filters affect the fluoride content of my water? Yes. Water filters can reduce the fluoride level in water, which will decrease the decay-preventing effects of optimally fluoridated water.
What is water fluoridation and is it safe? Water fluoridation is the adjustment of the natural fluoride concentration of fluoride-deficient water, and there is scientific evidence that indicates that water fluoridation is safe. Throughout history people have lived in areas where the natural fluoride concentration is as high as or higher than the recommended levels to prevent tooth decay. Research conducted among these people confirms the safety of fluoride.
If you have any other questions about the benefits of fluoride, its safety, or regulation please visit http://www.ada.org/sections/newsAndEvents/pdfs/fluoridation_facts.pdfAmanda Delwiche, DDS