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General Dentistry

Fluoride- Myths and Facts

January 17, 2021

Fluoride is one of those things that carries a lot of confusion and controversy. Many people have heard from “somewhere” that fluoride is bad for their teeth, while others understand the benefits of fluoride. Here at Apple Tree Dental, we will give it to you straight. We have compiled the many benefits of fluoride for your teeth, while also debunking some of those myths you may have heard. 

Fluorine Crystals

What Is Fluoride?

To begin with, what is fluoride? Fluoride is derived from fluorine, a natural element. It is found in soil, water, and many types of food. Fluoride is also produced artificially for use in drinking water, toothpaste, and mouthwashes. Fluoride protects teeth from decay by remineralizing superficial tooth structure that has begun breaking down. 

Fact: Fluoride Has Been Recognized as an Important Nutrient for Healthy Teeth

Fluoride in the right amount strengthens teeth. Because tooth decay is such a widespread health concern, many countries have added fluoride to their water supplies. Although water naturally contains fluoride, our everyday water has been fortified with fluoride for our health. This is known as fluoridated water. 

Myth: Fluoride Causes Cancer

There have been hundreds of studies worldwide that have failed to find a connection between fluoride and any type of cancer. 

Fact: Water fluoridation has been thoroughly studied, and the evidence shows it is safe and effective.

The CDC recognizes fluoridation as one of the “10 great public health achievements of the 20th century”. There was a study between two areas close in proximity in Arkansas. It showed that the citizens without access to fluoridated water had twice as many cavities as those with access to fluoridated water.

Myth: Fluoride is Harmful to Children

Fluoride is especially important for children 8 years and younger because it helps with proper tooth development. Getting enough fluoride in childhood is essential for strengthening our teeth to last a lifetime. However, children who swallow toothpaste over long periods of time are at an increased risk of mild fluorosis. Mild fluorosis does not harm your teeth or health, but it is simply a cosmetic issue in which faint white lines appear on the teeth.  This isn’t a concern for most people because they won’t consume enough fluoride to experience fluorosis. If you have questions or concerns, you can schedule an appointment with Apple Tree Dental, a kids dentist near me.

Fluoride Application

Fact: Topical Fluoride Applications at the Dentist Office Strongly Benefits Adults

Studies have shown that adults benefit greatly from topical fluoride applications at the dentist. This is especially true for those adults who are more prone to cavities. The American Dental Association recommends a fluoride topical treatment at your dentist’s office at least once a year, depending on your oral health. If you have questions about your personal oral health and fluoride needs, you can contact the best dentist near me, Apple Tree Dental.

Will Too Much Fluoride Cause Health Issues?

Just like anything, too much of a good thing isn’t always perfect. For example, Vitamin C is a widely known vitamin that we know we must take every day. Too much vitamin C can cause diarrhea and stomach pain.Water fluoridation is not produced in massive amounts, so you do not have to worry about harmful effects. Toothpaste, mouthwashes, and other oral hygiene products contain more fluoride but is a healthy amount for tooth health. (Just don’t swallow your toothpaste every day.) Those who are more prone to tooth decay, due to genetics or poor health, will need more fluoride than others. 

The Takeaway

Fluoride is a natural element that strengthens teeth from decay and reduces cavities. It is essential for that healthy smile! Water fluoridation plus healthy oral habits and regular dental visits equals the best treatment for your teeth. If you are concerned about fluoride intake, schedule an appointment with our well-trained dentists at Apple Tree Dental. The staff will work with you one-on-one to find the best oral healthcare routine for you. They will be able to determine the health of your teeth, along with your appropriate fluoride needs.