How well do fluoride treatments work at preventing tooth decay?

How well do fluoride treatments work at preventing tooth decay?

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Currently, about two-thirds of US households
have fluoridated water, and the CDC has made nationwide fluoridation of drinking water
a top priority for the prevention of cavities. The use of fluoride, however, is something
of a hot button issue. For example, a recent study showed that consumer-generated
videos versus industry-generated videos on YouTube were much more likely to have an anti-fluoride
sentiment. This is not new. In 1945, Grand Rapids, Michigan became the
first US city to implement community fluoridation of the water supply. And in the decades that followed, several
conspiracy theories developed around the practice, including speculation of a plot to impose
a communist regime in the United States. Of course, fluoride is not just found in tap
water. It’s also found naturally and fortified
in certain foods, can be found in varnish or gels at the dentist’s office, and is
a common ingredient in mouth rinses and toothpastes. So, how does fluoride prevent cavities, and
what does the research say about the benefits of its use? Now, in general, there’s bacteria on your
teeth, which can form microcolonies, and when these microcolonies coalesce, it creates a
layer of dental plaque. Bacteria have a hard time getting into the
tooth due to the outer layer of enamel which is composed of a hard substance called hydroxyapatite,
a type of calcium phosphate crystal with the chemical formula Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2. Now, if the bacteria on the tooth surface
start to overgrow, they can metabolize sugary foods and drinks and generate acid, which
can cause the hydroxyapatite to break down. Without hydroxyapatite, the enamel surface
of the tooth can weaken and allow bacteria to enter, causing permanent damage – this
is called a cavity. If it goes on long enough, the bacteria can
infect the root of the tooth, and this can be really painful. So this is where fluoride comes in. Fluoride can replace the OH group in hydroxyapatite
to create fluorapatite with the chemical formula Ca10(PO4)6(F)2. In general, fluorapatite, is more dense and
less soluble than hydroxyapatite, so it’s less likely to demineralize. Fluoride also accumulates in your teeth over
time, so while fluoride treatments are useful throughout your life, treatments are generally
more important during childhood and adolescence. Alright, so how well do fluoride treatments
work? One meta-analysis that looked at 20 studies
exploring the effect of fluoridation of drinking water on cavities in children, found that
fluoride in the water leads to a 35% reduction of tooth decay of baby teeth and a 26% reduction
in tooth decay of permanent teeth. Another meta-analysis looked at 22 studies
exploring the effect of applying a fluoride varnish to children’s teeth every 3 to 6
months at the dentist’s office, and found a 37% reduction in baby teeth and a 43% reduction
in tooth decay in permanent teeth. A third meta-analysis looked at 25 studies
focusing on fluoride gel treatments given at least one time a year at the dentist’s
office, generally to children older than 6 years old, which showed a reduction of 28%
in tooth decay. A fourth meta-analysis looked at 35 studies
that the effect of fluoridated mouth rinses given daily to every other week, and found
a 27% reduction in tooth decay. Now, if we look at meta-analyses of studies
that focus on fluoridated toothpaste, one found that it decreases tooth decay and that
the effect is stronger with higher fluoride concentrations in the toothpaste, higher frequency
of tooth brushing, and supervised brushing. This was further supported by another meta-analysis
that looked carefully at the amount of fluoride in the toothpaste. This study showed that brushing with fluoridated
toothpaste with at least 0.1% concentration of fluoride significantly prevents tooth decay
in children and adolescents aged 16 years or less. There was a 23% reduction in tooth decay at
concentrations of 0.1% to 0.125% fluoride and up to a 36% reduction in concentrations
ranging from 0.24% to 0.28% fluoride. Now, while fluoride can be toxic at doses
well above those used for dental hygiene, the main concern with using fluoride has generally
been fluorosis. Fluorosis, is not a disease, but rather a
cosmetic condition caused by overexposure to fluoride. Fluorosis is very common, with up to 41% of
children and adolescents having some form of it. Usually it takes the form of subtle white
patches on the teeth that are barely noticeable. In moderate to severe cases, w hich occur
in less than 4% of the population, there can be significant mottling of the teeth with
brown staining. While fluorosis is not generally a health
concern, it can lead to social stigma. A meta-analysis of 25 studies looked at whether
brushing teeth with fluoridated toothpaste is linked to fluorosis, and found that brushing
the teeth of an infant under 1 year old may increase the risk of fluorosis, but that relationship
was weak. There was a stronger relationship for children
between the ages of 12 months and 6 years of age. If these children brushed with a toothpaste
that was higher than 0.1% fluoride or more, they had a 30% chance of developing fluorosis. This means that the risks of tooth decay,
which are decreased over fluoride concentrations of 0.1% fluoride or more must be balanced
with the risk of fluorosis which increases at fluoride concentrations over 0.1% fluoride. All right, as a quick recap … Tooth decay
and dental cavities are one of the leading health concerns around the world. In general, fluoridation of the water supply,
and applying fluoride to the teeth via varnishes, gels, mouth rinses, and toothpaste has helped
decrease tooth decay. While fluoride is generally considered safe
at the concentrations used in fluoridated products, overexposure can lead to fluorosis. In some cases, risking fluorosis may be preferable
to risking tooth decay in children at high-risk for tooth decay. Therefore, it may be beneficial to discuss
all treatment options with your dentist. In addition, the American Dental Association
recommends preventing overexposure by brushing children’s teeth with only a grain-of-rice
sized smear of fluoridated toothpaste between when the teeth begin to erupt to 3 years of
age, and up to a pea-sized bead of toothpaste for children over 3 years old. For children that are old enough to brush
their own teeth, it’s also a good idea to monitor their brushing to decrease the likelihood
that they swallow the toothpaste, which can also lead to overexposure and fluorosis.

22 thoughts on “How well do fluoride treatments work at preventing tooth decay?”

  1. You did not address the negatives of fluoride exposure enough. Poor video.

    There are many reasons why Europeans do not fluoridate. And – trust me – it is not the Europeans who are at fault here.

  2. Germans don't use fluoride, not in toothpaste, not at the dentist, not in drinking water. Do Germans have more tooth decay? No. Fluoride prevents proper thyroid hormone production. Why aren't you talking about this? How many women have hypothyroidism in the USA? Is it caused by fluoride?

  3. WHO and cochrane reviews: Fluoride has been used for decades and is a reliable and demonstrable prevention of dental caries in 5% of the worlds population across 24 countries with minimal side effects, the treatment is in the dose as excess can lead to generalized skeletal fluorosis as seen in areas with naturally high groundwater F- concentrations, and too little will lead to population spikes in dental caries because people can't be trusted to maintain dental hygiene..

  4. There is a difference between drinking fluoridated water, and brushing the teeth, mouth rinsing. The latter two you spit out, and rinse with water. Drinking it from tap seem to be a little invasive.

  5. He’s the real reason fluoride is put in water and food and plastic and light bulbs and computers. Because evil runs this world. Pure utter evil. The entities who never received a body bc they have been denied god’s light. They’re pissed. They don’t want us to return where we came from, so they figured out how to trap our souls . Just like Hitler did to the Jews. Wake up! Quit living on auto pilot. Fluoride calcifies our pineal gland, so, when we die, if that’s calcified, it can’t release DMT. Therefore, our spirit is unable to move on to our next level to where we are meant to go. Instead, our spirits are trapped here. If you think this is not true, then research DMT, have you ever heard of it? Probably not .. gee wonder why? Good luck on your journey

  6. I find your channel to be extremely establishment biased. Obvious ofcourse given your background. But I find this video to be one big strawman. I have been using fluoride free toothpaste for years now and have no increase in cavities. You assume that the authority you give credibility to is benign and uncorrupt. I'd beg to differ. Fluoride is the most reactive halogen there is and people have the right to not want this forced upon them. Propaganda often works via half truths so that there always can be made an argument that is "sort of true". You probably also believe that meat causes cancer right? You would probably also say that if one would go to a general practitioner with chronic diarrhea and after they've been tested for parasites and auto immune disease that they need to learn to live with it? If your intentions are right, but you answer blindly to authority then you're nothing but a statist and nothing you do is really helping anyone.

  7. IODINE used to be one of the main ingredients of toothpaste till some wacko decided that poisonous fluoride will replace it.

  8. It prevents your pineal gland /3rd eye the sixth sense as known. Wake up all ready sheeple…. knowledge of self free ur mind damnit

  9. I call call bull shit!!! too controversia,l and they know the 85 % don't know how to think critically for them self

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