Woman brushing her teeth

Facts and Myths About Fluoride

Believe it or not, 50% of fluoride absorbed by an adult stays long-term. Most absorbed fluoride (around 99%) ends up in the bones and teeth. So, if fluoride is already in the human body, why do so many people think it’s terrible for you?

For most scientists, researchers, and healthcare professionals, it’s a no-brainer when it comes to fluoride; it is suitable for human health. Take a look at any toothpaste or mouthwash in your bathroom drawer or medicine cabinet right now. What do you see on the bottle? Bingo: Fluoride.

Fluoride has been vital in preventing tooth decay and ensuring good oral hygiene. But social media and health gurus might have you thinking otherwise. With all the myths about fluoride, what should you believe? We’ll take a closer look to separate fact from fiction and arm you with better insights about fluoride.

The Basics of Fluoride

While the name might make fluoride sound artificial, it’s not. Fluoride is a mineral found in:

  • Water sources
  • Soil
  • Plants
  • Foods

It has often been touted to be one of the most effective tools for preventing tooth decay and cavities, primarily because it strengthens tooth enamel and prevents the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth. 

A fact about fluoride is that it works by remineralizing the weakened enamel. Think of remineralization like patching the cracks in a wall to keep it strong, or an artist restoring an old masterpiece by applying more paint bring to it back to the original color. That’s how fluoride increases the teeth’s resistance to acid assaults from dietary sugars and plaque microorganisms. Another fact about fluoride is that it can be found in russet potatoes, lamb, carrots, and even raisins!

Fact: Fluoride Makes Tooth Enamel Stronger

The external coating of teeth is known as enamel. This coating is a barrier against many acids and bacteria in the food we eat. It’s an established fact about fluoride that it improves tooth enamel. It may not be one of the classic vitamins or minerals that your body needs, but it certainly helps put those minerals to work for your teeth.

Fluoride assists with enamel remineralization by drawing in calcium and phosphate ions. In addition to preventing cavities and correcting the early stages of tooth decay (demineralization), these ions fortify and increase the acid resistance of the tooth’s surface.

Myth: Health Risks and Fluoride

You might have heard some of your friends or colleagues talking about how fluoride shouldn’t be consumed orally through water or mouthwash. On the contrary, research has repeatedly shown myths about fluoride are wrong — it’s perfectly safe for your health.

Well-known organizations like the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have continually promoted the consistent use of fluoride. 

Fact: Fluoride Lessens Cavity Risk

No matter what anyone else tells you, there’s no disputing this fact about fluoride: it can lower the risk of cavities when used consistently. Many studies, from recent ones to those done over a decade ago, show communities with fluoridated water sources, which significantly reduced the incidence of cavities and tooth decay. Areas with non-fluoridated water, on the other hand, could have fared better. 

And if you like history, perhaps you’ll find this interesting – water fluoridation was the best public health decision of the 20th century. It decreased the incidence of cavities in adults and children by up to 25%. Its continued ability to prevent cavities makes it a valuable tool for maintaining good dental health. 

Myth: Dental Fluoride is Toxic

Alright, it’s true that too much fluoride over time is actually poisonous. But you know what, so is drinking too much water. Salt, caffeine, almonds, and any kind of medication become toxic at the right dose. When used right, your toothpaste and mouthwash won’t hurt you. While dental fluorosis, a disorder marked by white spots or streaks on teeth, can be brought on by excessive fluoride consumption, this only happens at very high levels. 

Exposure to contract fluorosis means your levels are above the recommended levels for optimal dental health. The level of fluoride needed to cause harm is around 2 to 3mg daily. On the other hand, the average amount of fluoride in toothpaste is around 1350 to 1500 ppm (parts per million) when used appropriately and as experts recommend. 

Fact: Children Can Safely Consume Fluoride

The impact of fluoride on children is a fact about fluoride that is frequently dismissed as fiction. The myth about fluoride is that it’s highly lethal for children. This isn’t true. Fluoride is completely safe for children to use. It can also be highly beneficial for developing healthy teeth and preventing cavities. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends fluoride supplementation for children living in areas with low fluoride levels in the water supply. Fluoride varnish applications by dentists are also practical for children with a high risk of cavities. And if you still need to decide about fluoride, it’s best to take your child directly to a dentist to sort out myths from facts.

Fact: Fluoride Can Be Applied Topically

A little-known fact about fluoride is that it can be applied topically in addition to fluorinated water sources and products such as toothpaste and mouthwash. But don’t try to DIY this. Dentists should only do this during routine preventive care or any other procedure.

Professional fluoride treatments (such as varnish or foam) are popularly used in dental clinics to provide extra protection against cavities. Another fact about fluoride treatments is that they’re quick, painless, and very effective at strengthening an individual’s tooth enamel to reduce the risk of tooth decay. 

Myth: Fluoride Only Works When Ingested

Similar to how some people believe that fluoride shouldn’t go inside your body, others think precisely the opposite. Many wrongly believe fluoride only works when consumed in water or mistakenly ingested in mouthwash. But contrary to this myth about fluoride, research has consistently shown that topical application of fluoride directly to the teeth – through toothpaste, mouthwash, or dental treatments – can also provide significant benefits in reducing the risk of cavities. Topical fluoride works by enhancing the remineralization of enamel and preventing the growth of cavity-causing bacteria on the tooth surface. 

Taking Care of Your Teeth with Definitive Dental

While there are many myths about fluoride flying around, it’s essential to realize that many scientific studies support fluoride in oral health routines. Many myths, like fluoride is not necessary for adults, are taken to be the truth, and this can end up causing cavities, root canals, and much more. Knowing the myths and facts about fluoride and other dental products is essential concerning oral health. But that’s not all; going to a dentist regularly to ensure your oral hygiene and smile are healthy is another vital component. 

At Definitive Dental in Grand Prairie, we ensure that each individual’s dental needs are met. Our Profound Numbing Guarantee and our experienced staff are here to ensure you have a comfortable experience. Whether you want to know more facts about fluoride or get a dental x-ray, our team is here to help. Book an appointment today to take your smile to new heights!

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