How Silver Foil Improved America’s Dental Health
Early 20th century scientists were trying to discover the cause of extensive tooth staining in residents who lived near a bauxite factory (today known as Alcoa Aluminum). They discovered that their water supply contained high amounts of fluoride (a byproduct that occurred while processing bauxite). While unsightly, those with brown teeth did not experience cavities. In the early 1900s few Americans visited a dentist nor had access to one. The discovery that fluoridated water could prevent tooth decay was a revelation.
Eventually the scientists found that water with a much lower percentage of the element did not stain teeth but still produced great results: less tooth decay. By the mid-20th century municipal water systems nationwide began to fluoridate their water supplies. Today, however, most Americans see our dentists regularly, and fewer municipal water suppliers fluoridate drinking water. This is partly due to most Americans’ preference for bottled over tap water and the rise in dental products containing the element such as fluoride toothpaste and fluoride mouthwashes.
What are Some of the Benefits of Fluoride?
Both fluoride toothpaste and fluoride mouthwashes help to harden and to protect tooth enamel which is one of the chief benefits of fluoride use. We all think that if using one product containing fluoride is good, then using two is even better. That may not be the case here, however. How should you determine if your daily dental regimen should include both fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash?
- First, call your water company and ask if your local water supply is treated with fluoride.
- If your water supply contains fluoride, select to use either a toothpaste or a mouthwash containing fluoride, but not both.
- If you do not like to use mouthwash, then a fluoridated toothpaste may be the best choice.
- If you are using both dental products containing fluoride and see that your teeth are turning brownish, it may not be your 5 cup a day coffee habit! Discontinue using these products as it is likely that your water supply is fluoridated and your teeth are becoming stained as a result.
As with any dental health concern, be sure to speak with your dentist about the benefits of fluoride in your dental care products. If you do not have dental health insurance, know that an EDP Dental Plan could save you up to 60% on your dental care —without the inconvenience of filing claims or filling out paperwork. Call 631.458.1256 or register online today!