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1. 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).
What 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.
- 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
241 West 37th Street
New York, NY 10018
Phone: 212 730 4440
Fax: 212 764 7122
My patients know that I am a huge advocate of preventative dentistry, emphasizing proper oral hygiene through brushing and flossing and timely treatment of problems. Preventative dentistry techniques keep the mouth healthy. A healthy mouth provides a bright and beautiful smile, fresh breath, and prevents other medical problems throughout the body. When proper oral hygiene is ignored, bacteria tends to build up around the teeth and gums. This bacteria is the cause of periodontal disease.
An astounding 75 percent of adults over the age of 35 have some degree of periodontal disease. Left unchecked, periodontal disease can cause serious damage to bone and tissues in the mouth and affect conditions elsewhere in the body. In fact, there is ongoing research linking periodontal disease with very serious medical problems. Some of these potential ailments include:
Increase in the risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Increase in the risk for strokes
Bacteria stored in the plaque in your mouth can very easily enter the bloodstream, which has been know to trigger an increase in certain protective materials which attach to vessels in the heart. This build up of plaque and fatty proteins thickens coronary arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis. This inflammation is the major cause of the development of cardiovascular disease and increases the risk of having a stroke.
Researchers have found that a person with a large amount of bacteria, due to improper oral hygiene, will inhale these germs into the respiratory tracts. An increase in bacteria in the respiratory system causes infections and worsens existing respiratory conditions, such as pneumonia.
Current research has found a link between periodontal disease and pre-term births. Mothers with periodontal disease have been found to be much more likely to give birth to a pre-mature or low birth weight baby. While this research is new, periodontal disease seems to increase certain biological fluids which induce labor, leading to pre-term births.
Periodontal disease has been known to be more prevalent in those who suffer from diabetes. New research is now finding that periodontal disease may, in fact, play a role in the development of diabetes. While victims of diabetes have a hard time fighting the infections caused by the bacteria associated with periodontal disease, conversely, these infections can bring about reactionary processes that lead to the onset of type 2 diabetes in healthy individuals.
While periodontal disease is found in a large majority of adults, it is important for people of all ages to be aware of the damage this disease can cause to the mouth and the rest of the body. It is imperative that proper oral hygiene is practiced at home and regular trips to your dentist’s office are scheduled throughout the year.
Daniell Mishaan, D.M.D. is a dentist in the Garment District in midtown Manhattan. He serves patients from all over New York City.
A quick breath check in the palm of your hand can never give accurate results. Whether you’re about to lean in for a smooch or start a job interview, you’re better off asking a trusted friend if your breath is sweet. But what if a friend isn’t around when you need one?
Tel Aviv University researchers have come up with the ultimate solution – a pocket-size breath test which lets you know if malodorous bacteria are brewing in your mouth. A blue result suggests you need a toothbrush. But if it’s clear, you’re “okay to kiss.”
Until now, scientists believed that only one population of bacteria (the Gram-negative ones) break down the proteins in the mouth and produce foul odor. But Prof. Mel Rosenberg and Dr. Nir Sterer of TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine recently discovered that the other population of bacteria (the Gram-positive ones) are bad breath’s bacterial partner. These bacteria appear to help the Gram-negative ones by producing enzymes that chop sugary bits off the proteins that make them more easily degraded. This enzymatic activity, present in saliva, serves as the basis for the new “OkayToKiss” test.
Prof. Rosenberg, international authority on the diagnosis and treatment of bad breath, who co-developed the kit with Dr. Sterer, published their findings this past March in the Journal of Breath Research, of which Prof. Rosenberg is editor-in-chief. An earlier invention of Prof. Rosenberg led to the development of two-phase mouthwashes that have become a hit in the UK, Israel and elsewhere.
From the Lab to Your Pocket
The patent-pending invention is the result of ongoing research in Prof. Rosenberg’s laboratory.
“All a user has to do is dab a little bit of saliva onto a small window of the OkayToKiss kit,” explains Prof. Rosenberg: “OkayToKiss will turn blue if a person has enzymes in the mouth produced by the Gram-positive bacteria. The presence of these enzymes means that the mouth is busily producing bacteria that foster nasty breath,” he explains.
Apart from its social uses, the test can be used as an indicator of a person’s oral hygiene, encouraging better health habits, such as flossing, brushing the teeth, or scheduling that long-delayed visit to the dentist.
OkayToKiss could be ready in about a year for commercial distribution, probably in the size of a pack of chewing gum, to fit in a pocket or purse. It is disposable and could be distributed alongside breath-controlling products.
For more information regarding the science behind bad breath please click here on www.medicalnewstoday.com