Gum Disease, Cavities and fluoridation

By Dave / April 26, 2007

Question: Hi Dave,

I am interested in fluoride and gum disease . I have heard that fluoride makes no difference to gum disease and that about 50% of all teeth that are lost are lost due to tooth decay. Do you know about this and can you confirm it? Thanks, if you can assist – Merilun

Answer:

Hi Merilun,

Thank you for your question. Let me attempt to answer the tooth loss question first.

advanced periodontitisIn the course of my ongoing research into gum disease and how to get rid of it, I have come upon many statistics. Sometimes the statistics seem to contradict each other.

However, the majority point to gum disease as the number one cause of tooth loss. One dentist explained that there is a high percentage of tooth loss due to cavities before the age of 25. After that, the majority of tooth loss cases are due to gum disease.

In actuality, if you think about, you can get a cavity filled, so it should not cause tooth loss very often unless it is not taken care of.

Regardless of whether a person loses a tooth due to gum disease or tooth decay, the underlying problem is exactly the same. Most professionals agree that bacteria and the plaque and calculus that they live in are the cause of both tooth decay and gum disease .

Bacteria live in our mouths and use our mouths as their bathroom. Those toxins accumulate on the teeth and around the gums, especially near the neck of the tooth.

anatomy-toothWhen plaque forms, the bacteria have a nice home in which to live and multiply rapidly, then a larger amount of toxins are produced. These waste products can cause both tooth decay and gum disease .

So whether you are trying to prevent cavities or gum disease the cause is widely agreed upon to be the same, the plaque.

Plaque needs to be removed constantly because it forms continuously. Brushing and flossing are the mainstays of prevention. However, they are not enough , in my opinion.

This government website says that 80% of adult Americans have gum disease in some form:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/gumdisease.html

If regular brushing and flossing were enough to prevent gum disease could this statistic be so high? That is a question for each to answer for himself / herself.

I found that I am among those whom regular brushing and flossing are not enough to stop or prevent gum disease .

Therefore, I found other tools that have been very helpful. I use these tools in addition to brushing and flossing. I did not stop brushing or flossing nor do I think that would be a good idea. Both activities are useful at removing plaque.

When I started using an oral irrigator the health of my gum tissue began to improve. I have added more tools to my regimen since then and I feel that I am in far greater control of the health of my gums now.

Removing plaque is something that each of us has to pay attention to for the rest of our lives. This will help prevent both cavities and gum disease.

To answer your question on fluoride. Official government sources still say that certain levels of fluoride in the water are useful for preventing cavities. There are individuals out there who say that is not true and that fluoridation is harmful to the body in many ways.

As far as fluoride helping to prevent gum disease, here is what I can tell you: My periodontist has his hygienists use fluoride during cleanings, they have a way to put it just under the gumline. I asked about this and they said that even though there is a debate, they believe it is useful in fighting gum disease.

I hope this covered your question thoroughly enough, if not, you can simply ask another question .

Please remember, this is for information only. If you have or think you have gum disease, a cavity or any other oral health condition, contact your dentist for diagnosis and treatment.

Thank you for submitting your question!

 

dentist3

 

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About the author

Dave