By Dr Daliah
Flouride has been used for decades to help fight tooth decay.
It was introduced into our toothpastes in the 1950′s and has been one of the most integral participants of dental care ever since. It works by creating a barrier between acid-producing bacteria as well as being toxic to the bacteria at high doses.
However, Yale researchers have found that some bacteria have evolved to outsmart fluoride. They found that the bacteria have a “riboswitch” that senses when fluoride levels are becoming toxic and turns on a gene to allow the bacteria to increase its defenses and withstand the injury.
So if bacteria can outsmart the element, what’s next? It so happens researchers are already planning to find a way to turn off the “riboswitch” in order to allow fluoride to do its job. However, in the meantime, we should still take care of our teeth the same way we always have…brushing, flossing, water picking, and avoiding sugars, alcohols and acids that can destroy our enamel. Bacteria may be smart, but we’re smarter.
Daliah Wachs, MD
Dr. Daliah is the host of The Dr. Daliah Show, which airs on GCN Monday through Friday 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Central Time. Listen to the show On Demand.