As the debate regarding whether fluoridating water continues, there’s some good news from a study based in New Zealand for those who are proponents of treating public water supplies. According to the study, fluoridating water is in fact effective at treating dental caries in children, something which is especially important for the proper development of adult teeth.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), children’s teeth aren’t just disposable ‘place holders’ for adult teeth, but important to their growth and development.
Cavities in children can lead to pain, missed school, and social isolation which could harm developing self-esteem. In cases where cavities are particularly serious, they may even require the tooth to be pulled, which while it does stop the cavity can cause problems such as
Improper growth and development of adult teeth
Improper alignment of adult teeth
Speech development issues
Though these problems may not seem serious, they could have lasting effects on your child’s self-esteem.
Another issue cavities in younger children may cause is odontophobia or fear of the dentist. This is because children who must have teeth filled or pulled may become afraid to return to the dentist for future cleanings due to a scary or painful experience with Novocain or fillings.
Though receiving fluoride by brushing their teeth regularly is still an excellent way to reduce the risk of childhood cavities, fluoridated water can help fill in any gaps in children’s’ oral hygiene and ensure that they are allowing their teeth the maximum protection.
Cavities aren’t just a problem for kids, though. Older adults suffer cavities at higher rates than children – up to 32 percent, a number which could be arguably higher without the use of fluoridated water in some communities. In adults with permanent teeth, serious cavities can cause everything from fillings, onlays, and crowns to pulled permanent teeth which can cause problems of their own, including bone degradation.
If your community does not fluoridate water, don’t despair. Speak to your dentist about prescription fluoride supplements that can be taken to replace fluoridated water. To discuss your options with Dr. Abelar, please call the office at (858) 523-1400.