Is fluorine useful for teeth?
What is the use of fluorine for teeth? Dentists all ever the world recommend eating products containing fluorine but are they really so necessary for our teeth? Lets try to clear out this question. The most important thing you should know about fluorine is that it is used to prevent caries
. In fact, caries is useful not only for our teeth. The whole organism needs it for proper functioning.
It is important to say that food additives and medicines do not contain pure fluorine. They only contain chemical compounds of fluorine called fluorides (such chemical compounds contain fluorine ion). When we eat, drink water, take medicines, breathe, or simply walk in the street we still get a certain dose of fluorine compounds fluorides. Most fluorides are results of human activity. The structure of fluorine compounds is similar to the structure of minerals that build our bones and teeth.
When fluorides get inside our organism they are accumulated in surface layers of tissues and contact with circulating liquids. First of all we mean here the surface of our teeth.
Even blood plasma contains some amount of fluorides. The amount of fluorides in our blood plasma and tissues depends on the number of chemical compounds our organism gets. The majority of fluorides we get from the water we drink.
The process of accumulation of fluorides in tissues is more intensive when the crown of the tooth is being formed or when it is being mineralized (the first few years after the tooth has erupted).
Permanent teeth contain more fluoride than milk teeth. However, the older the person becomes, the less fluorine his teeth contain. Dentists think that such fact can be explained by gradual erasing of dental enamel.
Numerous investigations have proven that fluoride can actually prevent caries. The thing is that calcium fluoride is accumulated in liquids and tissues of the mouth cavity. If you regularly consume products containing fluoride, this element is stored in your body. Microscopic crystals of calcium fluoride will simply remain on your dental enamel. It is also important to mention that people do not need too much fluoride. This element is very active and even a small amount of it will be useful. Modern toothpastes, for example, contain enough fluoride to maintain caries resistance of teeth. Just do not forget to clean your teeth regularly at least twice a day.
There is also one important thing you should know about fluoride. We have already mentioned that fluoride accumulated in the crystal lattice of your teeth can prevent caries. But what if you already have caries? Will fluoride help? Yes, it will. Calcium fluoride will slow down the spread of caries. This way you will have enough time to see the problem and treat caries at an early stage.
I hope that now you understand how important fluoride is for the health of our teeth. But there is another side of the medal. Oversaturation of fluoride can also have serious consequences for your teeth. In case of oversaturation of fluorides these elements become toxic. They suppress enzymes and ruin living cells. Dentists claim that concentration of fluoride in a persons organism must be within the limits of 1mg/l (0,7mg/l for those living in tropical countries). If the water you drink contains more than 2mg/l fluorine you are likely to suffer fluorosis. So, as you see fluoride can be useful to prevent such unpleasant disease as caries but too much of it can be the cause of another disease fluorosis. That is why take care to consume as much fluorine as your body needs but not more.
There are 2 ways to maintain the necessary amount of fluoride in the organism. They are the local and the systemic methods. The local method consists in using various toothpastes, solutions, lacquers, and gels. The systemic method consists in consuming products containing fluorine. These products are milk, water, salt, special pills and tablets.
Fluorine is added to drinkable water at waterworks with the help of special equipment. The process of fluoridation consists in adding salts to the water. The norm is 0,8 - 12 mg of fluorine ions per liter. The exact concentration of fluorine ions in water depends on a series of factors. They include the climate and the amount of water consumed.
It is important to say that not only adults suffer caries. Children can have this disease as well. To prevent caries with children fluoridation of milk is used. In most cases sodium fluoride is used for this purpose. Though sometimes sodium fluorophosphate is used for this purpose. Still, this method of prevention of caries has a disadvantage. Not all people can get enough milk with fluorine. The amount of such milk is only enough to supply schools and kindergartens.
The cheapest yet one of the most effective ways to prevent caries is fluoridation of salt. Still, it is very difficult to find the exact dosage of salt to suit everybodys needs and tastes. As a result, some people may get too much fluorine with their usual dose of salt while the rest will get not enough of it.
There is one more way to prevent caries. You can take fluorine-containing pills. The protective effect of fluorine-containing pills depends on the following factors:
- patients age
- frequency of consumption
- duration of preventive therapy (not less than 250 days a year).
It is strongly recommended to take fluorine-containing pills when the childs teeth are being formed and developed (2-15 years). At this period fluorine-containing pills are very effective. Approximate dosage of fluorine:
- Children under 2 years of age 0,25mg;
- 2-4 years 0,5mg;
- 5-15 years 1mg.
Do not go too far using fluorine-containing pills as there are some contraindications. If you get more than 50 per cent of the necessary amount of fluorine from food or water or take some fluorine-containing tablets it is not recommended to take fluorine-containing pills. That will be too much for your organism. There is a great variety of fluorine-containing medicines and outer method. Let us have a closer look at some of them.
There are drops. They may contain vitamins D, C, A, and sodium fluoride. Take the drops after or during meals. The recommended length of treatment is 1 year. Make some breaks of 2-4 weeks after taking drops for 3 months. Children under 6 must take half a teaspoonful of drops once a day. Older children can take up to 1 teaspoonful once a day.
Phthorlacum. This method consists in covering teeth with a fluorine-containing laquer. Phthorlacum is a mixture of natural pitches and fluorine usually about 3%. Teeth are covered with phthorlacum in a dental clinic. Phthorlacum forms a thin film on the surface of your teeth. It takes some time some hours for Phthorlacum to start working. Fluorine must get inside the dental enamel to strengthen your teeth. It is recommended to undergo the procedure in the age of 2-12 years once a year. The number of procedures depends on the condition of your teeth and the stage of development of caries. Still, it is worth saying that three-fold covering of teeth with Phthorlacum every other day is advised.
Fluorine-containing solutions and gels. These medicines have a remineralizing effect. Useful substances contained in gels and solutions get into saliva and later they start affecting the dental enamel. It is recommended to apply fluorine-containing gels to teeth for some 3-4 minutes. 3-7 applications twice a year is enough to make your smile attractive again. Fluorine-containing solutions are used for rinsing. You should rinse your mouth cavity for about 3 minutes but not more. Then rinse your mouth with some water. This method can be used as soon as the first permanent teeth have erupted.
Toothpastes. Nowadays using ordinary toothpastes is the best and the most convenient way to prevent caries. The thing is that 95% of all toothpastes on the market contain fluorine.
So, now you know why fluorine is so useful for our teeth. Moreover, you know that too much of it can also be a problem. Be wise trying to make your teeth healthier. And be healthy.