Fluoride and Dental Health

By admin
July 10, 2017

Is bottled or filtered water putting your dental health at risk?

According to some beverage industry trackers, bottled water overtook carbonated soft drinks in 2016 to take its place as the No. 1 drink in the United States. This shift is believed to be the result of a number of factors, from concern over the impact of sugary drinks on the increase in obesity rates, to anxiety about the possibility of lead and other contaminates in some municipal water supplies.

With so many Americans turning to bottled water and away from fluoridated tap water, which has helped to reduce tooth decay since it was first introduced in the 1940s, should we be worried whether we are getting enough of the protections fluoride provides to maintain healthy teeth? Well-Being spoke to family dentist Jennifer C. Lumbley, D.M.D., of Brite Expressions Family Dentistry in Flowood, about how to balance our increased consumption of bottled (or filtered) water with our desire to keep our family’s teeth strong and healthy.

According to Dr. Lumbley, good oral hygiene is the first line of defense when it comes to protecting dental health.

“I tell my patients fluoride also can be beneficial and can play a role in maintaining good dental health because it helps to strengthen the tooth enamel which aids in preventing decay,” Dr. Lumbley explains. “If they are not drinking fluoridated water, there are other ways to treat their teeth with fluoride, such as toothpaste, mouthwashes and supplements. I believe the best way to make sure you are getting the correct amount of fluoride to protect your teeth is to talk to your dentist.”

Water filters and filtering pitchers are ways more and more families are protecting themselves from contaminates that may be found in their tap water. So another question comes to mind, ‘does filtered water remove fluoride along with other substances that may be found in tap water?’

“Not all filters remove fluoride from tap water,” Lumbley continues. “We tell our patients to read and understand what their specific filter is designed to remove. There are also other important nutrients that may not be found in filtered (and bottled water), including calcium, magnesium, and sodium, which can help meet daily dietary mineral requirements. Depending on the type of filter, these minerals may be reduced, removed or not affected at all. Calling the filter manufacturer is the best way to find out.”

Open female mouth during oral checkup at the dentist. SelectiveDr. Lumbley believes some of the biggest threats to good dental health are the lack of dental education and access to regular dental care.

The American Dental Association recommends regular dental visits at intervals determined by the dentist, for optimal oral health. For most children, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends dental check-ups at least twice a year.

A few other things families can do to promote good dental health include:

  • Get your children off to a good start by caring for their teeth even before they can brush themselves. Wipe baby teeth with a clean damp cloth or a soft brush. At about age 2 kids can try brushing themselves with their parents’ help and supervision.
  • Children (and adults) should brush twice a day and floss daily. Toothbrushes should be changed 3 to 4 times a year.
  • Eat a healthy diet. A well-balanced diet including grains, nuts, dairy products and fruits and vegetables, is essential to healthy teeth and gums. Avoid sugary foods and drinks.

Jennifer C. Lumbley, D.M.D., is a native of Carrolton, MS. She attended Delta State University where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and a Master of Science degree in Natural Sciences. Dr. Lumbley received her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry. Her practice, Brite Expressions Family Dentistry, is located in Flowood, MS.

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