Here at the Smile Design Centre in Hagerstown we appreciate the benefits of fluoride and the decrease we have seen in the occurrence of childhood decay because of it. Fluoride in a toothpaste, rinse, or dental office works by chemically binding to the surface of the tooth and producing a molecule that is much more resistant to decay. These types of fluoride treatments are called “topical” because they are applied to the top or outer surface of the tooth. These are not generally ingested into the body.
Fluoride found in vitamins, water or food are ingested into the body and hence are referred to as “systemic”. We refer to them as such because the fluoride itself becomes incorporated into bones and teeth while they are forming, giving additional strength from the “inside-out”. From a systemic standpoint, the ideal fluoride concentration in drinking water should be around .7 to .8 parts per million in order to omit supplemental sources of fluoride like vitamins. Substantially lower concentrations will likely yield higher rates of tooth decay, while higher concentrations usually result in mottling of the enamel or dental fluorosis.
Read more about the recommendations set forth by the American Dental Association at the link below: