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Fluoridated Water: Questions & Answers

Posted on 30 May 2009 by admin

fluoride-tutorial1. What is fluoride?

Fluoride is the name given to a group of compounds that are composed of the naturally occurring element fluorine and one or more other elements. Fluorides are present naturally in waterand soil.

2. What is fluoridated water?

Virtually all water contains some amount of fluoride. Water fluoridation is the process of adding fluoride to the water supply so that the level reaches approximately 1 part fluoride per million parts water (ppm) or 1 milligram fluoride per liter of water (mg/L); this is the optimal level for preventing tooth decay (1).

3. Why fluoridate water?

In the early 1940s, scientists discovered that people who lived where drinking water supplies had naturally occurring fluoride levels of approximately 1.0 ppm had fewer dental caries (cavities). Many more recent studies have supported this finding. Fluoride can prevent and even reverse tooth decay by enhancing remineralization, the process by which fluoride “rebuilds” tooth enamel that is beginning to decay.

4. When did water fluoridation begin in the U.S.?

In 1945, Grand Rapids, Michigan, adjusted the fluoride content of its water supply to 1.0 ppm and thus became the first city to implement community water fluoridation. By 1992, more than 60 percent of the U.S. population served by public water systems had access to water fluoridated at approximately 1.0 ppm, the optimal level to prevent tooth decay. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers fluoridation of water one of the greatest achievements in public health in the 20th century.

5. Can fluoridated water cause cancer?

The possible relationship between fluoridated water and cancer has been debated at length. The debate resurfaced in 1990 when a study by the National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, showed an increased number of osteosarcomas (bone tumors) in male rats given water high in fluoride for 2 years. However, other studies in humans and in animals have not shown an association between fluoridated water and cancer. In a February 1991 Public Health Service (PHS) report, the agency said it found no evidence of an association between fluoride and cancer in humans. The report, based on a review of more than 50 human epidemiological (population) studies produced over the past 40 years, concluded that optimal fluoridation of drinking water “does not pose a detectable cancer risk to humans” as evidenced by extensive human epidemiological data reported to date. In one of the studies reviewed for the PHS report, scientists at the National Cancer Institute evaluated the relationship between the fluoridation of drinking water and the number of deaths due to cancer in the United States during a 36-year period, and the relationship between water fluoridation and number of new cases of cancer during a 15-year period. After examining more than 2.2 million cancer death records and 125,000 cancer case records in counties using fluoridated water, the researchers found no indication of increased cancer risk associated with fluoridated drinking water. In 1993, the Subcommittee on Health Effects of Ingested Fluoride of the National Research Council, part of the National Academy of Sciences, conducted an extensive literature review concerning the association between fluoridated drinking water and increased cancer risk. The review included data from more than 50 human epidemiological studies and six animal studies. The Subcommittee concluded that none of the data demonstrated an association between fluoridated drinking water and cancer. A 1999 report by the CDC supported these findings. The report concluded that studies to date have produced “no credible evidence” of an association between fluoridated drinking water and an increased risk for cancer.

6. Where can people find additional information on fluoridated water?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) site has information on standards for a fluoridated water supplies in the United States. Visit  and search for “fluoridation.”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Web site has more information about drinking water and health. It includes information about drinking water quality and standards. This Web site is located at on the Internet.

7. Key Points

  • Fluoride prevents and can even reverse tooth decay (see Question 3).
  • More than 60 percent of the U.S. population on public water supply systems has access to water fluoridated at approximately 1 part fluoride per million parts water—the optimal level for preventing tooth decay (see Question 4).
  • Many studies, in both humans and animals, have shown no association between fluoridated water and risk for cancer (see Question 5).

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Dry Mouth (Xerostomia) : Symptoms, Causes, Tips

Posted on 30 May 2009 by admin

Dry MouthWhat do I need to know about dry mouth?

Dry mouth is the feeling that there is not enough saliva in the mouth. Everyone has a dry mouth once in a while — if they are nervous, upset or under stress. But if you have a dry mouth all or most of the time, it can be uncomfortable and can lead to serious health problems. It can also be a sign of certain diseases and conditions. The technical term for dry mouth is xerostomia. Dry mouth can cause difficulties in tasting, chewing, swallowing, and speaking, can increase your chance of developing dental decay and other infections in the mouth, can be caused by certain medications or medical treatments. Dry mouth is not a normal part of aging. So if you think you have dry mouth, see your dentist or physician–there are things you can do to get relief.

Symptoms include:

  • a sticky, dry feeling in the mouth
  • trouble chewing, swallowing, tasting, or speaking
  • a burning feeling in the mouth
  • a dry feeling in the throat
  • cracked lips
  • a dry, rough tongue
  • mouth sores
  • an infection in the mouth

Why is saliva so important?

Saliva does more than keep the mouth wet.

  • It helps digest food
  • It protects teeth from decay
  • It prevents infection by controlling bacteria and fungi in the mouth
  • It makes it possible for you to chew and swallow

Without enough saliva you can develop tooth decay or other infections in the mouth. You also might not get the nutrients you need if you cannot chew and swallow certain foods. Some people feel they have a dry mouth even if their salivary glands are working correctly. People with certain disorders, like Alzheimer’s disease or those who have suffered a stroke, may not be able to feel wetness in their mouth and may think their mouth is dry even though it is not.

What causes dry mouth?

People get dry mouth when the glands in the mouth that make saliva are not working properly. Because of this, there might not be enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. There are several reasons why these glands (called salivary glands) might not work right.

  • Side effects of some medicines. More than 400 medicines can cause the salivary glands to make less saliva. Medicines for high blood pressure and depression often cause dry mouth.
  • Disease. Some diseases affect the salivary glands. Sjögren’s Syndrome, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease can all cause dry mouth.
  • Radiation therapy. The salivary glands can be damaged if they are exposed to radiation during cancer treatment.
  • Chemotherapy. Drugs used to treat cancer can make saliva thicker, causing the mouth to feel dry.
  • Nerve damage. Injury to the head or neck can damage the nerves that tell salivary glands to make saliva.

What can be done about dry mouth?

Dry mouth treatment will depend on what is causing the problem. If you think you have dry mouth, see your dentist or physician. He or she can try to determine what is causing your dry mouth.

  • If your dry mouth is caused by medicine, your physician might change your medicine or adjust the dosage.
  • If your salivary glands are not working right but can still produce some saliva, your physician or dentist might give you a medicine that helps the glands work better.
  • Your physician or dentist might suggest that you use artificial saliva to keep your mouth wet.

What can I do?

  • Sip water or sugarless drinks often.
  • Avoid drinks with caffeine, such as coffee, tea, and some sodas. Caffeine can dry out the mouth.
  • Sip water or a sugarless drink during meals. This will make chewing and swallowing easier. It may also improve the taste of food.
  • Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless hard candy to stimulate saliva flow; citrus, cinnamon or mint-flavored candies are good choices.
  • Don’t use tobacco or alcohol. They dry out the mouth.
  • Be aware that spicy or salty foods may cause pain in a dry mouth.
  • Use a humidifier at night.

Tips for keeping your teeth healthy

Remember, if you have dry mouth, you need to be extra careful to keep your teeth healthy. Make sure you:

  • Gently brush your teeth at least twice a day.
  • Floss your teeth every day.
  • Use toothpaste with fluoride in it. Most toothpastes sold at grocery and drug stores have fluoride in them.
  • Avoid sticky, sugary foods. If you do eat them, brush immediately afterwards.

Visit your dentist in ny midtown for a check-up at least twice a year. Your dentist might give you a special fluoride solution that you can rinse with to help keep your teeth healthy. We provide General Dentistry and Cosmetic Dentistry, Bleaching/Whitening, Orthodontics, Implants, and Reconstructive Dentistry with Cosmetic Dentists and Specialists all in our spacious and new mid-town Manhattan office.

Dr. Daniell Mishaan, D.M.D.
MIDTOWN DENTAL GROUP
www.midtowndentalgroup.com

241 West 37th Street
New York, NY 10018
Phone: 212 730 4440
Fax: 212 764 7122

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