Fluoride is a naturally occurring substance that has been used for many years to fight tooth decay but it seems that bacteria are learning to fight back. The incidence of tooth decay in America has greatly declined with the advent of fluoride toothpastes and the addition of fluoride to municipal water supplies. While this is controversial in some areas the addition of this mineral has the amazing ability to not only reduce cavities in children and adults but can even repair the early stages of tooth decay.
Researchers from Yale reported in Science Express that bacteria have molecular messaging systems called riboswitches that detect fluoride. When the fluoride is detected the bacteria activate their defenses. One of the side effects of these defense mechanisms contributes to tooth decay.
Fluoride not only hardens the enamel in our teeth but is toxic to bacteria. These bacteria have had to deal with the toxic effects of fluoride for billions of years and have evolved these sensors to help them survive. According to the researchers “Now that these sensors and defense mechanisms are known, it may be possible to manipulate these mechanisms to make fluoride even more toxic to bacteria.”
As with many things, a little fluoride can be good for our teeth but too much can cause problems including spotting and discoloration. There are other reasons for discolored or mottled teeth including use of medications such as antibiotics. Unfortunately, the discoloration caused by medications or excess fluoride cannot be removed by dental bleaching. Cosmetic dentistry techniques including dental veneers are used to restore discolored teeth creating a beautiful new smile.
For more information about cosmetic dentistry options in the Columbus, OH area please contact Columbus cosmetic dentist Dr. Mark Levy at StoneRidge Dental Care today. Schedule your consultation by called 614-476-6696.