Q: Why is fluoride important to dental health?
A: Fluoride is credited with having reduced tooth decay in the United States by some 50 to 60 percent in the years following World War II when water fluoridation programs were instituted. Essentially, fluoride makes the tooth’s enamel stronger. It is a chemical compound that occurs naturally in water and in many foods. You should be using an American Dental Association-approved toothpaste that contains fluoride.
Some natural sources of fluoride are milk, spinach, kale, apples, canned fish and tea. Dental plaque and saliva hold fluoride. Fluoride is good not just for your teeth, but also for your bones. It is known to help fend off osteoporosis, a disease characterized by degenerative bone loss. Fluorine, from which fluoride is derived, is the 13th most abundant element in the world. Fluoride is naturally present in water. Public water fluoridation programs are designed to bring the presence up or down to 0.7 parts fluoride per one million parts water.
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