Fluoride Mystery: Controversial Additive Being Studied by Scientists

New Study Says Flouride Reduces Ability of Bacteria to Stick to Teeth
BY Zachary Stieber TIMEMay 9, 2013 PRINT

Fluoride mystery: Flouride, an additive in toothpaste and drinking water around the world, is being studied to see how exactly it battles tooth decay.

Study researcher Karin Jacobs, a physicist at Saarland University in Germany, told MyHealthNewsDaily that when flouride bonds with tooth enamel, bacteria probably cannot hold onto it as strongly.

Flouride is often cited as fusing with teeth to create an acid-resistant layer. Yet some research has indicated that flouride might control mouth bacteria, which causes tooth decay.

Johnson experimented on tooth substitutes, created by polishing artificial teeth with microscopic grains of diamond to make the surface really smooth. Some of the imitations were exposed to flouride.

“The bacteria we’re studying are likely to be charged negatively,” Jacobs told MyHealthNewsDaily. “They feel attached to positively charged surfaces.” The flouride probably makes the enamel more negatively charged.

Jacobs and her team will continue researching flouride’s effect on teeth.



Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
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