How much fluoride in our drinking water is considered safe?
Parents, often ask us how much fluoride their children should be getting. Health Canada, through a joint federal/provincial committee, is responsible for watching the level of fluoridation in water supplies. In recent years, this committee has recommended that optimal levels should be between 0.8 and 1.0 parts per million.
The well water in many towns around Kincardine contains naturally occurring high levels of fluoride. In Kincardine, the water is taken from surface water, which contains virtually no fluoride. We have provided a chart breaking down the levels in our area.
For children living in communities with naturally high levels of fluoride, it should be noted that in some cases some children can get too much fluoride. Excessive consumption of fluoride can result in a condition on children’s teeth called “fluorosis”. Dental fluorosis occurs when white specks appear on a child’s teeth. Most dental fluorosis is mild and barely visible. Dental fluorosis is not health threatening. It is mainly a cosmetic condition. In more severe cases, it can be easily treated by our dentists. Dental fluorosis is not a problem for older children or adults.
Today’s young children are getting fluoride from a variety of sources, including drinking water and toothpaste, as well as foods and beverages that are made with fluoridated water. Children who show signs of dental fluorosis are generally being exposed to more fluoride than is required simply to protect their teeth. We can do some things to make sure our children are not getting too much fluoride. With younger children, only put a small amount of toothpaste on their toothbrush– about the size of a pea – and encourage them not to swallow the toothpaste.
Some children may not be getting enough fluoride. This is probably the case in Kincardine. Due to the low level of naturally occurring fluoride in Kincardine, our dental team may recommend some form of a fluoride supplement. Our dentists will estimate your child’s total fluoride intake and risk of cavities before prescribing fluoride supplementation. Supplementation, in liquid or chewable format, has proven useful in protecting patients at high risk of cavities or living in areas with high rates of cavities.
The bottom line is that fluoride plays a large role in protecting our children’s teeth from decay. In most cities, adding fluoride to the water supply is the best way to provide fluoride protection to a large number of people at a low cost. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recently named fluoridation of drinking water one of the 10 most successful public health measures in this century.
Keep in mind that every child is different. Regardless of whether you live in Kincardine or a community with high levels of fluoride, some kids are more prone to decay than others. The best way to make sure your child is receiving the right amount of fluoride for their dental health is to consult with our dental team.
Are silver fillings (amalgam) safe?
Scientific studies have not verified that dental amalgam is causing illness in the general population. It has been known for some time that amalgam fillings release minute amounts of mercury vapour, especially with chewing, and that this mercury can be absorbed, reach body organs, and cross the placenta. This is also true of mercury absorbed from natural sources, such as food. In our practice, the most common material used to fill teeth is a composite (white) material. However, in some cases silver fillings are still a better option than white fillings.
What is the Best Toothpaste to Use?
Dentists prefer toothpastes that protect teeth from cavities and abrasion. There are plenty of toothpastes on the market that promise fresh breath and white teeth but excessive levels of abrasives can actually be harmful to your teeth and could result in enamel and root surface wear which in turn cause tooth sensitivity. The level of abrasiveness is measured on a scale of 1 – 250. The lower the number, the less abrasive the toothpaste. We have attached a table that outlines many popular brands of toothpastes and the corresponding abrasiveness measure.
What are the Best Mouthwash Products to Use?
The Problem With Soft Drinks
Soft drinks as well as sports drinks are proven to cause erosion and cavities in teeth. The acids and acidic sugar in these drinks soften tooth enamel and in extreme cases, can lead to tooth loss. Children and adults can all benefit from reducing, if not eliminating soft drinks from their diet. We have attached a chart listing the pH levels in various brands of soft drinks and sports drinks. Parents take note; juice contains high levels of sugar and are considered by many dental professionals to be equally as bad as soft drinks!