Fluoride and Oral Health

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No discussion of nutrition and oral health would be complete without mentioning the role of the micronutrient fluoride. The addition of fluoride to the public drinking water supply is rated as one of the most effective preventive public health measures ever undertaken. Fluoride reduces dental caries by several different mechanisms. The fluoride ion may be integrated into enamel, making it more resistant to decay. In addition, fluoride may inhibit oral microbial metabolism, lowering the production of organic acids.

The relationship of nutrition to oral health includes much more than a simple focus on sugar's relationship to caries. It includes factors such as an individual's overall dietary patterns, exposure to fluoride, and a person's systemic health. see also Baby Bottle Tooth Decay; Breastfeeding; Fast Foods; Obesity.

Warren B. Karp

Internet Resources

American Dental Association. "Oral Health Topics." Available from <http://www.ada. org>

American Dietetic Association. "Position of the American Dietetic Assoication: Oral Health and Nutrition." Available from <http://www.eatright.com>

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "Healthy People 2010." Available from <http://www.health.gov/healthypeople>

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