Raise your central incisor [front tooth] if you ever questioned the benefits of Fluoride.
I mean, the varnish is goopy, and then you can't eat that Icee you've been craving for a whole thirty minutes?! And what with community water fluoridation? It's always crossing headlines as a controversy.
Well, truth be told, I once didn't understand what the fuss was about. I mean, my dentist never did offer an explanation for why my teeth were getting this paint job and supplement.
But then I studied Fluoride more. And Fluoride varnish. And water fluoridation.
And I went to Harvard School of Dental Medicine where I learned even more from the leading experts in the field. I wrote a blog post about community water fluoridation with my peers. And it was shared with the ilikemyteeth.org blog again in March of this year. And I realized more and more each day, I love that goopy, supplementing, great-for-my-teeth Fluoride stuff! For SO MANY reasons!!! But just to give a few:
1. Fluoride makes your teeth SO STRONG! And who doesn't like strength? We go to the gyms for our bodies. We admire those building muscles. And, with Fluoride, we can get all that bulk with none of the work. Seriously!
Whether pasted as a varnish or supplemented in the water - both forms being SO important! - Fluoride becomes a coat of armor, a periphery of muscle for your teeth. As you eat delicious food throughout the day and get some acidity in your mouth - thank you bacterial world :p - the calcium and phosphorous forming the outer, enamel coat of your teeth start to dissolve away. Enter cavity formation if this happens with enough frequency. But Fluoride. Fluoride won't melt away so easily. It puts its bicep to work and stays strong to the tooth until your teeth have a fighting chance to stay beautiful, healthy, and, most importantly, strong.
2. Fluoride fights those pesky bacteria. Which is wonderful! Because, do you know what happens when you eat? Well, as a future pediatric dentist, I like to put it this way: when you eat that really tasty food, or even the healthy whole grains and veggies, your bacteria friends get excited. They shout out to all their buddies, "Hey guys! There's food over hear. Come and get it!" And a party ensues. Think nightclub on the molar. But just like us, when those bacteria start to eat, the food has to go somewhere. For them, it's in this little poop [metabolic byproduct] of acid that can wreak havoc on your teeth. The minerals in your teeth start to slip out, the beautiful white coating starts to show through to yellow. It isn't a party as far as you're concerned.
But Fluoride, Fluoride is like that caring parent who steps up to the plate and says, "EVERYONE, PARTY OVER!" It blocks the metabolic pathway that leads to acid production by putting an enzyme, enolase, in time out, and it keeps those bacteria from having a destructive good time. And that, my friend, creates a lifetime of good times and good teeth for you!
And finally, reason 3 for loving Fluoride:
3. I LOVE MY TEETH. And I want these pearly pebbles to stay put for A LONG TIME! No artificial tooth will ever be as strong as your natural dentition. No set of dentures will ever fit your face quite the same as a naturally borne set of teeth. Nothing could be better than waking up in the morning, smiling in the mirror, and seeing those 32 (or 28) gorgeous teeth smiling right back.
So, go forth and use Fluoride with the guidance of a dentist. Look into all its benefits at mouthhealthy.org. Read about the evidence-based reasons for fluoride use and more on the ilikemyteeth.org blog for dental professionals.
And don't worry; even if you were craving that Icee but need to get some Fluoride varnish at this next dental cleaning, that Icee will wait. Because YOUR TEETH MATTER so much more!
The doctor said she would live in a nursing home, confined to a wheelchair, crippled by pain. Instead, Mirissa D. Price is a 2019 DMD candidate at Harvard School of Dental Medicine and future pediatric dentist, spreading pain-free smiles, writing through her nights, and, once again, walking through her days.