Fluoridated water is a controversial issue surrounding health news today. But for Dr. Erica Pitera and most pediatric dentists nationwide, the topic is not so controversial. Today we’ll explain more about why our office recommends drinking fluoridated city water or adding fluoride tablets to well water.
Childhood caries (the fancy word for tooth decay in kids) is the most common chronic disease of childhood and affects more than 40% of children by kindergarten. In some areas, like remote parts of Colorado, fluoride occurs naturally in drinking water. It was noted that people’s teeth in those areas were particularly resistant to cavities, and now decades later, we add teeny, tiny amounts (0.7 part per million, to be exact) of fluoride to achieve the same effect. Fluoridation of community water supplies is considered the single most effective public health measure to prevent dental decay and has helped decreased decay rates by 20-40%.
Fluoride helps strengthen teeth for several reasons: (1) it promotes enamel RE-mineralization; (2) it reduces enamel DE-mineralization; and (3) it inhibits bacterial metabolism and acid production. When small amounts of fluoride are ingested via water, that fluoride is absorbed and made available to be incorporated into the developing teeth of a child. If a child receives sufficient fluoride from infancy through the teenage years, all permanent teeth will form fortified with fluoride, making them stronger and more resistant to cavities.
We recommend having your water supply tested for natural levels of fluoride before adding a supplement and we have information in our office about how to perform the test. We all must be careful not to add too much fluoride to water and risk fluoridation, which can result in brown staining of the teeth. Dr. Erica and our clinical team of assistants and hygienists will help determine the appropriate level of fluoridation for your child based on their water supply, age, diet, and risk level.
Although many communities in Middletown are supplied with fluoridated city water, there are some pockets even within the city that are on a well and therefore must be tested. Surrounding Connecticut towns without city water that may require supplementation include Haddam, Higganum, Durham, East Haddam, Killingworth, East Hampton, and Marlborough while Cromwell, Glastonbury, Meriden, Middlefield, Portland, and Rocky Hill all have fluoridated city water.
Because there can be many misconceptions about fluoride in general, we encourage you to bring your concerns to our office so we can thoroughly discuss them with you and make sure your child receives the best oral health care possible!
Sweet Tooth Pediatric Dentistry
583 Saybrook Road
Middletown, CT 06457