Recently, a major local water company that provides public drinking water to residents in the Mechanicsburg area announced that it will remove fluoride from the water supply as it begins to consolidate it’s three separate systems into one West Shore public water system.
The other two water systems do not currently receive added fluoride to their water supply, while the Mechanicsburg system does. When they integrate all three systems, the addition of fluoride to the Mechanicsburg system will cease.
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally found mineral that occurs in foods, soil, water and is also commonly used in public drinking water, toothpaste, mouth rinses and other health products.
Why do water authorities add fluoride to drinking water?
Many public water suppliers in the United States add fluoride to community drinking water systems to reduce the occurrence and prevalence of tooth decay and oral health problems in their local populations.
The American Dental Association recognizes the addition of fluoride to community water supplies as a safe and effective means of preventing tooth decay for all ages.
How does Fluoride help dental health?
To begin the explanation, you need to understand that the enamel (super-strong outer covering) on your teeth is made from calcium and phosphate. These two elements are also found in your saliva which constantly covers your teeth to keep the enamel strong.
As you eat or drink, your saliva is constantly working to recoat your teeth with the calcium and phosphate that was stripped away as you munched on those tasty snacks.
When fluoride is present, whether it’s in your drinking water, toothpaste, mouthwash or other supplement, it teams up with the calcium and phosphates already in your saliva as they bond to your tooth enamel to create a strong defensive coating on your teeth.
This bond is called fluorapatite, and it is the strongest defense system your teeth can have against the formation of tooth decay.
How can I add fluoride to my dental hygiene routine?
If you’re in the Mechanicsburg area which will soon not have fluoride in their water system, or in a community that doesn’t have added fluoride, you can take some easy steps to ensure you’re providing your teeth with this incredibly strong cavity sheild.
- Make sure you’re brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Use a mouth rinse that contains fluoride
- Ask your dentist about fluoride treatments
- Drink bottled waters with fluoride
If you have children you should also make sure they’re using a fluoride toothpaste and brushing twice a day for approximately two minutes.
Not sure if your community water has fluoride added?
Check out this tool from the CDC that allows you to learn about the fluoride level in your local drinking water: My Water’s Fluoride