Dentists have been fighting tooth and nail to get fluoridated water in every community for decades. Due to cost issues or moral opposition, however, some areas are left with tap water that does nothing to improve the dental health of their youths.
According to ABC 10 News, a local affiliate in Marquette, MI, the county health department is countering this problem by offering a Fluoride Rinse Program in schools across the area.
This is good news for children who don’t get fluoride in their tap water, as they are at a higher risk for developing tooth decay later in life. An estimated 31% of American adults suffer from tooth decay, and many of these cases could have probably been avoided with an early focus on dental hygiene.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps to rebuild tooth enamel after being broken down by food and drinks over time, according to WebMD. It remineralizes the enamel, helping fight off cavities, tooth decay, and gingivitis.
The American Dental Association claims that fluoridating all tap water can decrease the number of children and adults with tooth decay by more than 25%.
One of the most important benefits of of proper oral hygiene is that it fights a bacteria called streptococcus mutans, which is a main cause of cavities in children and teenagers.
“It’s been identified as the primary source for dental decay,” says Marquette dentist Dr. Jim Hayward. “The bacteria ingest the sugars and excreted as waste the acids that do the damage to the teeth.”
While the Fluoride Rinse Program is sure to leave smiles on the faces of parents, it’s not a replacement for brushing and flossing. Still, the kids are more likely to keep their pearly whites pearly for much longer — and avoid tooth decay in the future.