We have all heard of the controversy surrounding whether or not to use fluoride. It is important to do your own research and ask professionals any questions you may have regarding the reasons for uses, benefits and possible risks with fluoride.
Fluoride, like many other minerals and other substances is naturally occurring. It is found in rocks and minerals and leaches into ground water. The EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, monitors and approves fluoride for use in water supplies. It is one of the most effective ways we know that can slow the progression of dental caries and help to remineralize any weak, or demineralized, areas of the enamel. Studies have shown that children that grow up in fluoridated areas tend to have less decay than their non fluoridated counterparts. Fluoride can also help with sensitivity as it fills in the dentinal tubules that can allow temperature to penetrate the tooth and affect the nerve.
Small amounts of fluoride toothpaste used topically have been shown to lower risk of dental decay, however too much fluoride can cause fluorosis of the teeth. That is why it is so important to monitor children using fluoride toothpaste. One reason for monitoring fluoride ingestion is because too much fluoride, like WAY too much, can cause fluorosis. Fluorosis can affect the permanent teeth by causing staining. This only occurs when the adult teeth are still forming and have not yet erupted. Once the permanent teeth erupt they can no longer have intrinsic staining caused by too much fluoride. Using a small amount of fluoride toothpaste topically and even having fluoride in drinking water is not enough to cause fluorosis. Monitored fluoride use can be a beneficial to having healthy teeth!