Nearly 75% of public water systems in the U.S. have fluoride added to them in order to protect the dental health of those who drink this water. Though fluoride naturally occurs in earth, water, and food, we add more of it to our water supplies in order to reduce the risk for tooth decay, so smiles can last longer.
History Of Fluoride
Though fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral, we didn’t realize its benefits for dental health until the 1930’s. Researchers discovered that people living in areas where they had high fluoride content in their water supply had fewer cavities. Scientists finally put their research to the test in 1945 by adding more fluoride to the water system of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Studies today show that water fluoridation reduces the risk for cavities by 25%.
Benefits Of Fluoride
Why does fluoride strengthen teeth and reduce the risk for cavities? Well, when it is ingested by children, then their bodies use it to build and strengthen the tooth enamel of their permanent teeth, which are growing in their jaw bones. Fluoride also benefits adults because it helps to strengthen the calcium and phosphorus minerals that remineralize tooth enamel damaged by plaque acids.