In recent years, different groups in this country have suggested that fluoride is dangerous for the community. They protest fluoride in their water supply and believe fluoride doesn’t improve dental health nearly enough to outweigh the negatives. At Parkcrest Dental Group, our team of dentists in Springfield, MO, firmly support the scientific research of the last century. This research shows that fluoride helps reduce the likelihood of cavities. In fact, dentists first started researching fluoride because it was naturally occurring. Let Parkcrest Dental Group take you on a journey through the brief but important history of fluoride in dentistry.
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An Unassuming Beginning
At the turn of the century, the first dentist stumbled upon the effects of fluoride. These effects didn’t look good at first glance. Dentist Dr. McKay arrived in Colorado Springs in 1901 and found the residents had brown stains on their teeth. This disorder, originally dubbed the Colorado Brown Stain, is now referred to as mottled teeth. In Naples, Italy, a year later, another dentist discovered the same condition. Both populations shared the brown stained teeth and one other trait: people had much fewer cavities than in other areas. There was no mad scramble of dentists flocking to these areas in an effort to discover why this happened. Instead, a few dentists in different areas of the globe began doing their own private research.
Fluoride in Arkansas & England
Two very different regions of the world collaborated on the research that would propel fluoride to the US Public Health Service’s attention. An Arkansas mining company worried about mottled teeth in their area in 1931. They thought their mining contaminated the water with aluminum, causing the brown stains found in the population of the nearby town. The hired a chemist to test whether this was true. The chemist found excess fluoride, not aluminum, in the water where mottled teeth were most prevalent.
A dentist in Essex, England, who had researched mottled teeth in 1925, heard about the link between fluoride and mottled teeth. His earlier research showed a strong correlation between mottled teeth and fewer cavities. His new research showed that a population near water with 0.5 parts per million (ppm) fluoride had significantly more cavities than a nearby population with 4.5 ppm.
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US Health Department Studies Fluoride
During WWII, the US Health Department conducted research on the effects of fluoride. In a study conducted in 21 cities, Dr. H. T. Dean discovered the range of fluoride in water that protected from cavities but didn’t cause mottled teeth. The optimal range proved to be right around 1 ppm. Mottled teeth rarely occurred at 1 ppm fluoride in drinking water, and this small amount of fluoride proved as beneficial as higher dosages.
Fluoride & Parkcrest Dental Group
The Parkcrest Dental Group fully supports and encourages the use of fluoride. Toothpaste and mouthwashes recommended by your Parkcrest Dental Group dentists in Springfield, MO, will contain the optimal levels of fluoride, protecting your teeth from cavities. If you have concerns regarding cavities or tooth decay, contact Parkcrest Dental Group to schedule a checkup today.