What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral that helps protect your teeth from decay by strengthening your enamel. It is found in a wide variety of dental products and is often added to public water supplies. Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths surrounding the use of fluoride. Keep reading to separate fact from fiction, and learn more about the protective benefits of fluoride.
5 Myths About Fluoride
Myth #1: Fluoride is dangerous for children
Fluoride helps strengthen your child’s enamel, making their teeth less susceptible to decay.
Myth #2: Fluoride is not natural
Fluoride is naturally found in all water supplies at some concentration. It also occurs naturally in the rocks, minerals, and certain foods.
Myth #3: Fluoridated water does not work
Fluoride not only helps to strengthen your teeth, but it can also help prevent future tooth decay and loss.
Myth #4: Fluoride is not safe
The Institute of Medicine and American Academy of Family Physicians have endorsed fluoride as being safe. Extensive scientific studies conducted over the last 60 years have shown that fluoride is not linked to cancer, heart disease, kidney problems, or other health problems.
Myth #5: Water fluoridation causes excessive dental fluorosis
Ingestion of excess fluoride can lead to scattered white flecks across the teeth. Nevertheless, the risk of dental fluorosis is very low and the risk of tooth decay is very high. To reduce your risk of dental fluorosis, use the proper amount of fluoride toothpaste or fluoride mouthwash as recommended by your dentist.
5 Facts About Fluoride
Fact #1: Fluoride strengthens your enamel
Fluoride locks calcium into your teeth, reducing the rate at which your teeth decay. It is often referred to as “nature’s cavity fighter” because it can also restore weakened enamel.
Fact #2: Fluoride prevents tooth decay
Certain types of bacteria can destroy tooth enamel and dentin by leaching minerals from your teeth. Fluoride helps prevent this process by making your enamel resistant to demineralization.
Fact #3: Fluoridated water is safe and effective
For over 70 years, people in the United States have been drinking water with added fluoride and experiencing better oral health. According to the American Dental Association, fluoride prevents tooth decay by at least 25% in both children and adults.
Fact #4: Fluoridation saves money
Adding fluoride to water is one of the most efficient and least expensive ways to prevent tooth decay. Fluoride reduces the amount of money you need to spend on fillings, root canals, and extractions.
Fact #5: It is recognized as a public health achievement
According to the Centers for Disease Control, water fluoridation was recognized as one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. This mineral has dramatically reduced the occurrence and severity of tooth decay in communities.
With a wealth of information online, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. Thankfully, numerous studies have confirmed that fluoridated water and fluoride dental products are safe and effective. If you are concerned about your dental health and would like to learn more about fluoride, talk to your dentist. He or she would be happy to answer any of your questions.