When it comes to fighting tooth decay, fluoride is a good weapon to have in your arsenal. It’s a common ingredient in most toothpaste brands and found in many municipal drinking water sources. However, there is quite a bit of misinformation out there surrounding fluoride. As a parent, you may be concerned whether fluoride is beneficial. We’re here to separate fluoride facts from rumors.
Fluoride is a mineral. It can be found naturally in rocks, soil, water, and air. When combined with calcium and phosphate in the teeth, it not only prevents cavities from forming, but it makes the surface of your teeth – known as the enamel – stronger and less prone to decay.
Fluoride: Facts vs. Myth
Myth: Too much fluoride is harmful.
Fact: Dental fluorosis is a condition caused by too much fluoride over an extended period. It only occurs in children eight years or younger and leads to discoloration of the permanent teeth while they are under the gums. Most municipal water sources and toothpaste brands do not contain enough fluoride to cause fluorosis, but if this is a concern, bring this up with your dentist.
Myth: Fluoridated drinking water is not necessary because of the fluoride in toothpaste.
Fact: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the amount of fluoride in toothpaste doesn’t provide the level of protection needed to fight tooth decay. Together, fluoridated water and toothpaste work to provide maximum protection.
Myth: Fluoride is not natural.
Fact: Fluoride is the 13th most common element found in the world. It’s also naturally found in water; however, these levels don’t meet the recommended level for optimal dental health. Community water fluoridation is the addition of fluoride to adjust the natural levels of concentration in a community’s drinking water supply to the recommended level.
Myth: There isn’t enough evidence to support that fluoride is safe.
Fact: On the contrary, fluoridation of drinking water has been used successfully in the United States for more than 50 years and has been credited with reducing tooth decay by 50 – 60 % in the United States since World War II. Fluoridated toothpaste has been on the market since the 1940’s.
Myth: Fluoride has been linked to cancer, chronic diseases, and autism in children.
Fact: Numerous studies and research have been conducted on this topic over many decades, and none have shown that the addition of fluoride increases the risk of cancer, autism or other serious health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, or kidney problems. It is endorsed as being safe by both the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Pediatric Dental Associates of Alabama is a pediatric dentist practice with offices in Hoover, Birmingham, Cullman, Oxford, and Pell City, Alabama. Our staff is uniquely trained and highly skilled, and we strive to provide unparalleled service to each patient. Our staff consists of team members with specialized training and certifications, and years of experience in treating patients with the highest level of care. We strive to stay abreast of the very latest in technology and advances by regularly attending continuing education courses and seminars.
To experience the difference and “why us,” schedule your appointment with your child’s dental office today!