Chances are, you have heard of fluoride. But do you know what it is? You’ve probably heard your dentist talk about it, or seen the word on your toothpaste or mouthwash products, but what exactly is its purpose? Is it good for you? Or is it something you should be concerned about?
There is a lot of mixed information about fluoride. Some people may tell you it’s harmful to your teeth and overall health, while others may tout the benefits. While what you have heard about fluoride may be true, there are a lot of myths out there. Drs. Rosen & Dworkin explore five of the common myths about fluoride and break down what’s fact and what’s fiction.
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5 Common Myths About Fluoride
Myth #1: Fluoride Doesn’t Reduce Tooth Decay
One of the most common myths about fluoride is that it does nothing to help prevent tooth decay. Fluoride is a natural nutrient found in drinking water, and it is one of the most important minerals to reduce tooth decay and promote oral health. Several studies support the claim that fluoride prevents tooth decay, including studies from the CDC and the National Institute of Health.
However, the levels of fluoride found in our drinking water are low enough that they do not have a significant impact on our teeth. That is why most dentists, including Drs. Rosen & Dworkin, recommend using toothpaste with fluoride or routine fluoride treatments.
Myth #2: Fluoride is Harmful to Children
As mentioned above, several studies have found that fluoride is good for teeth. This is true for both adults and children. This is why the United States has fluoridated water. In fact, when kids drink fluoridated water, their teeth become stronger as they grow older.
As long as your kids receive the dentist-recommended fluoride treatments and have appropriate amounts of fluoride, it is beneficial for their oral health, not harmful. It can even reduce their risk of future tooth decay.
Myth #3: Fluoride is Linked to Cancer
Another common myth about fluoride is that it causes cancer. However, leading health and medical organizations agree that fluoride is both safe and effective. Scientific studies across the world have concluded that there are no connections between fluoridated water and cancer of any type. This includes research from the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Dental Association, and several other organizations.
Myth #4: Fluoride Doesn’t Belong in Drinking Water
Another common myth you may hear about fluoride is that it does not belong in our drinking water. The truth of the matter is that it’s already there, naturally. What’s at issue is the amount of fluoride in the water.
The natural amount of fluoride in our drinking water is too low to have any significant impact on our teeth. But when we add fluoride, research suggests it protects our teeth. The Food and Drug Administration recommends the optimal level for water fluoridation is 0.7 parts per million.
Myth #5: Other Countries Don’t Fluoridate Their Water
The United States fluoridates its water, but a common myth is that other countries do not. Some myths even suggest that European countries ban fluoride in their water. This is not true.
Other areas, including Australia, Europe, Latin America, and several other areas of the world, use fluoride in their drinking water. However, some of these places may use a different fluoridation method than the United States. But they do fluoridate their water nonetheless.
Can Fluoride Ever be Harmful to Your Teeth?
Much of this blog post has focused on the benefits of fluoride, but can it ever be harmful to your teeth? The short answer is yes.
If exposed to high fluoride concentrations, it can lead to a condition called fluorosis. Fluorosis causes specks to appear on your teeth. It does not affect the health or function of your teeth, and it is not painful.
Most cases in the United States are mild. In fact, it may only be noticed by a dentist. Cases of fluorosis are occasionally reported in the United States, but they are rare.
High Levels of Fluoride
As mentioned above, if you are exposed to too-high levels of fluoride, you can develop fluorosis. But don’t be alarmed. You would need to consume significantly more fluoride than you probably already do.
Even if you drink fluoridated water, use toothpaste with fluoride, and get occasional fluoride treatments from Drs. Rosen & Dworkin, during your routine cleanings, you would still need to be exposed to more fluoride levels in order for fluoride to cause any negative or harmful effects.
Stay Informed About Your Dental Health With Drs. Rosen & Dworkin
There are many myths about fluoride, but the research says it is perfectly safe for adults and children in the doses you are likely to consume. Chances are, you drink water with fluoride in it, but you may want to take advantage of fluoride treatments and fluoride toothpaste in order to prevent tooth decay and maximize your oral health.
Have a question or concern about fluoride? Reach out to Drs. Rosen & Dworkin, and make your appointment today!