by: Dr. Andrew Koenigsberg and Dr. Rebecca Koenigsberg
The introduction of fluoride in water and toothpaste over the last 70 years has led to large decreases in dental decay.
One of the 20thCentury’s Greatest health Achievements
Water fluoridation was a major breakthrough for national oral health when it was first introduced in 1945 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deemed it one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century, helping reduce the chances of developing tooth decay.
Does fluoridated toothpaste eliminate need for fluoridated water?
Recently, people have questioned whether fluoride in the water is necessary as most people are exposed to fluoride in toothpaste. Recent studies have shown that communities with fluoridated water have lower rates of decay. Researchers discovered that counties in which more than 75 percent of the population had access to community water fluoridation saw a 30 percent reduction in dental caries.
What happens in if there’s very little fluoride in the water?
When fluoride in the water is unavailable, children deemed to be at high risk by a pediatrician or a dentist, a fluoride supplement can be prescribed to be taken on a daily basis.
Another option researchers have found to be effective is fluoride varnish, which helps re-mineralize the tooth surface and prevents the development and progression of caries.
Fluoride has been called the second most effective public health measure after vaccination in terms of disease prevention. And of course, parents play a critical role when it comes to maintaining their children’s dental health, by teaching them healthy habits early on.