Tooth decay is caused by bacteria. Bacteria exists on the enamel surfaces of your teeth in plaque. The bacteria metabolizes sugars and simple carbohydrates from the food you eat and the byproducts are acids. These acids are trapped in the plaque and remain in contact with the enamel for up to 2 hours.
The acidic plaque causes what is called demineralization. This is when calcium and phosphate minerals actually dissolve from the enamel. This leaves the enamel weakened. But all is not lost! The teeth can remineralize! Once the acids are neutralized the enamel will reintake the same minerals and strengthen the enamel. We just need a neutral environment and plenty of fluoride ions.
That’s where fluoridation comes in!
This is a great 3 minute video which goes over the basics of fluoridation:
Drinking fluoridated water keeps the teeth strong and reduces tooth decay by approximately 25% in children and adults. By preventing tooth decay, community water fluoridation has been shown to save money, both for families and the health care system.
Nearly all water contains some fluoride, but usually not enough to help prevent tooth decayor cavities. Community water systems can add the right amount of fluoride to the local drinking water to prevent tooth decay.
Community water fluoridation is recommended by nearly all public health, medical, and dental organizations including the American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, US Public Health Service, and World Health Organization. Because of its contribution to the dramatic decline in tooth decay in the United States since the 1960s, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) named community water fluoridation one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.
The drinking water in Thousand Oaks actually originates in Northern California! Its transported from the Sacramento River Delta through the California Aqueduct to the Metropolitan Water District’s Jensen Filtration Plant in Granada Hills. It is there where it is treated, filtered and disinfected. It is also there where it receives the perfect amount of fluoride for optimum oral health! It is then piped directly to Thousand Oaks through the transmission facilities of Calleguas Municipal Water District.
So have no fear! Our water is ideally fluoridated in Thousand Oaks!
What if its not enough?
Occasionally I will encourage a patient to increase his or her fluoride intake. One way is to use a prescription toothpaste. Sometimes I will prescribe Prevident toothpaste to be used for a time to try to remineralize some problem spots.