Fluoride from the Tap Protects Teeth - Provides Seniors Affordable Dental Benefits
By Susan Braden
The cost of dentistry procedures rises incrementally each year. Along with this rising cost, another concerning fact is that a large number of senior citizens without any coverage need affordable dental care. There are a number of ways to help seniors bring down the cost of their dentistry, including connecting them to a low cost discount plan and encouraging them to improve oral hygiene by consistent brushing and flossing. Another way to encourage seniors' oral health is to advise them to drink fluoridated liquid from the tap rather than bottled water.
What is fluoride and how does it help?
Fluoride is known to slow the early stages of tooth decay. Thus your dentist will typically apply fluoride to your teeth surfaces during your regular cleanings. Also, when you drink from the tap, this substance incorporates with the structure of your teeth.
Fluoride originates from the element fluorine, a common element that exists in water sources. The easy availability of fluoride in tap water makes it one of the most affordable tooth treatments available, because seniors don’t need to pay for any special kind of liquid to receive fluoride’s teeth-strengthening benefits!
As plaque builds up on your teeth, the acid it produces can dissolve your enamel. Fluoride helps negate this process, and also allows teeth that have been damaged by acid to somewhat repair themselves. The good news for seniors looking for affordable dental protection is that tap water contains fluoride.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that almost 60% of U.S. citizens receive fluoride through the taps in their homes, which makes fluoride’s affordable oral benefits available to many seniors – as close as their kitchen sinks!
A 2007 study by faculty of the Indiana University School of Dentistry found in a sample of children, adults, and senior citizens that while all three groups benefited from the consumption of water containing fluoride, seniors needed less fillings and appeared to benefit the most.
“Our finding that fluoridated water lowered the number of dental fillings confirms studies on younger people but breaks new ground on older individuals. While those we studied had dental insurance, many older adults, who are often retired, don't have dental insurance and so prevention of decay is very important. Community water fluoridation is a sound public health investment for people of all ages," said Dr. Maupomé, scientist and B.D.S., M.Sc., Ph.D., of the Indiana University School of Dentistry.
What about bottled water?
Over the last 20 years or so, bottled water has become more and more popular in the U.S, and seniors trying to find affordable care need to know whether or not bottled water aids their teeth as much as it does from the tap. Most bottled varieties do not contain the necessary amount of fluoride needed for your best oral health. While fluoride typically exists in the source waters that are used in the bottling process, the fluoride is filtered out during the purification process. Another important fact for senior citizens that live on a fixed budget is that regular consumption of bottled water can be much more expensive than the simple utility cost of liquid from the tap.
As the cost of dentistry continues to increase, senior citizens on a fixed income are seeking out avenues to secure affordable dental care. Many will look to low cost dental plans or affordable dentists in their area. While these options are vital, seniors can also improve their oral health by the water that they choose to drink. Fluoridated tap water, rather than bottled, provides the necessary fluoride needed to strengthen and protect their teeth from decay.