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Does fluoride really help the teeth?
Updated: 5/7/2013 11:14:59 AM
 

Does fluoride really help the teeth?

Over the past few years, there has been an ongoing debate in the country over the use of fluoride. This chemical is found in most toothpastes, and many communities throughout the U.S. add fluoride to their public water supplies to help enhance their residents' dental health. However, some people have argued that there should not be added fluoride in water and that it is bad for people's health.

Recently, researchers from the American Chemical Society shed some light on how fluoride works to protect the teeth. This may encourage some people who have been hesitant about this chemical in the past to change their opinions. 

How does it work?
According to the researchers, fluoride helps harden the enamel on the teeth that protects them from acids and bacteria. Furthermore, recent studies have shown that fluoride penetrates and hardens an even thinner layer of enamel than previously thought. In this most recent study, the researchers found that fluoride also seems to make it more difficult for bacteria to stick to the teeth and produce the type of acid that causes cavities. Thanks to this, it makes it easier for people to brush the bacteria away when they are participating in their daily dental care routines. 

Recently, the Portland Tribune has been writing articles on the fluoride debate in Oregon. In the latest article, the author called fluoride "a safe, effective and affordable public health option" and encouraged Portland residents to call to have it added to the water. 

The news source explained that half of all kids in Multnomah County have cavities, and those from poorer families are at a greater risk than others. Furthermore, children in Portland have 40 percent more decay than children in Seattle, where the drinking water is fluoridated. 

The Portland Tribune article added that people who are concerned about the safety of fluoridation shouldn't be, because there have been more than 3,700 studies on the safety and effectiveness of fluoridation. Furthermore, communities have been adding fluoride to their water for years, and more than 70 percent of Americans drink water with fluoride in it on a daily basis. Portland is the largest city in America that does not have community water fluoridation and children in the area may be suffering as a result. 

Residents of Portland should research fluoride for themselves so they can make an informed decision. 

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