It’s hard to think of anything you can’t get in McKinney these days. As one of the fastest growest cities in the country, this city has everything, from hipster cafes to escape rooms and paint-your-own-pottery studios! What more could you want?
Well, McKinney is the place to be unless you want fluoridated water. Despite the new developments and establishments that are flourishing in our little town, we dentists are still lamenting the fact that the water isn’t fortified with cavity-fighting fluoride and today, we’ll tell you why.
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps prevent cavities by strengthening tooth enamel. It also makes the mouth more resistant to enamel-eroding acids produced by bacteria. Think of it as a super shield for your teeth that keeps villainous bacteria from penetrating the enamel and creating painful cavities.
Many dentists use fluoride treatments to strengthen their patients’ weak enamel and avoid dental caries. You may recognize it as a supplemental ingredient in toothpaste and mouthwashes. Fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwashes are one of the best ways to keep your teeth healthy and strong.
Even though there are tons of products that have artificially fortified with fluoride, it’s a naturally occurring substance that can be found in almost all water sources and certain foods! Fluoride can be applied topically or ingested. It’s nontoxic and completely edible. When fluoride is consumed by drinking water or eating food, it’s called systemic fluoridation.
What is enamel fluorosis?
Though the use of topical and systemic fluoride can prevent cavities in the long run, there can also be negative side effects if its use isn’t moderated. Enamel fluorosis is a condition that affects people who over consume fluoride at a young age. When children who are still developing their teeth ingest too much fluoride, their teeth can develop irregularly. The most common symptoms of fluorosis are hypomineralization characterized by bright white spots or lines on the teeth.
The most extreme cases of fluorosis are when the teeth retain amelogenin proteins from fluoride, preventing the enamel from maturing and resulting in subsurface porosity. This could cause brown spots and stains on the teeth that are unsightly and difficult to remove.
Fluorosis is not a major concern for dental professionals because it’s a cosmetic concern, not a health concern. Most side effects from consuming too much fluoride do not negatively impact dental health, so dentists still recommend using fluoride in regulated amounts. The benefits far outweigh the cons!
To avoid enamel fluorosis, consult your pediatric dentist about when to start introducing fluoride into your infant’s dental care routine and how much to use. There is minimal risk of developing fluorosis as long as parents monitor their child’s fluoride use and intake early on. In fact, most families don’t even have to worry about it as long as they’re not swallowing copious amounts of toothpaste or fluoridated mouthwash.
How does fluoride affect us in McKinney?
According to the American Dental Association, community water fluoridation is the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay. Introducing fluoride to the water supply is effective in reducing dental decay by 25%. It allows everyone to be exposed to the cavity-fighting effects of fluoride by simply drinking water.
Despite the health benefits of community fluoridation, it has become a widely debated topic, even in McKinney! In 2013, there was a resurgence in opposition to adding fluoride to the water from the McKinney council. The North Texas Municipal Water District typically supplements water with fluorosilicic acid, bringing the naturally occurring fluoride content from 0.2 – 0.4 milligrams per liter to 0.7 – 1.2. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends 2.0 – 4.0 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water to protect children from cavities.
Since then, McKinney has refrained from fluoridating its water. In the McKinney Water Report of 2017, the water was reported to contain 0.26 – 0.38 ppm of fluoride, about the same amount as natural water. While this is an acceptable level of fluoride for infants, it’s lower than the CDC and EPA’s recommended level of fluoride for older children and adults. To compensate, McKinney families may want to consider getting fluoridated toothpaste for the family.
Most pediatric dentists in McKinney recommend parents introducing fluoride toothpaste to kids starting around 3 years old. Younger children are still developing their teeth, so they only need a pea-sized amount of toothpaste when brushing. As they grow older, they can increase their use of fluoride. Using fluoride alone isn’t enough to prevent cavities, though. There are tons of precautions parents can take to avoid cavities like eating healthy foods and maintaining regular oral hygiene routines. Our orthodontist highly encourages McKinney families to actively engage in these dental practices, especially since there’s less fluoride in their water.
Don’t get the wrong idea! We still love McKinney here at Showtime Smiles Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry, but it’s important to be conscious of what we are or aren’t consuming. There are lots of fluoride treatments and products you can get at the local store to treat weak enamel or cavity-prone teeth. Our resident orthodontist, Dr. Dan, can definitely give you more insight into what’s best for your teeth. Check out our dental guide to McKinney to learn more about oral health updates and events here in our community. Feel free to contact our office in McKinney if you have any questions!