Fluoride is a mineral that has gotten quite a bit of flack over the years. This mineral is found naturally in water and food, and when it comes to health, has several benefits that everyone should be aware of. Unfortunately, there’s plenty of misinformation circling about fluoride, and a number of people believe the myths rather than the facts.
Studies have shown that fluoride can strengthen bone density to a degree, but it can also help to protect teeth from tooth decay. It is added to dental products like toothpaste and mouthwash, and can even be given in tablet form to kids. It is also added to public water supplies to encourage healthy communities. With the hoaxes and conspiracies floating about, many people don’t like to drink tap water and worry that they could be hurting their health by using fluoride in any capacity.
If you’d like to learn more about fluoride, we have a collection of myths and facts below that will clue you in. Learning about this natural mineral will help you to improve the health of your teeth and avoid the conspiracies for good.
Myth: Fluoride Has No Benefit For Teeth and Could Even Be Dangerous
Fact: Fluoride is An Important Nutrient For Healthy Teeth
Fluoride is not a medication and is actually an important nutrient for healthy teeth. There’s no scientific evidence to back up the claim that it is dangerous, but there are many studies that show how beneficial it is for teeth. Fluoride is commonly used in dentistry to strengthen enamel and many studies back up its effectiveness over time. Studies show that fluoride does the following:
- Rebuilds (remineralize) weakened tooth enamel.
- Slows down the loss of minerals from tooth enamel.
- Reverses early signs of tooth decay.
- Prevents the growth of harmful oral bacteria.
Myth: Putting Fluoride In The Water Is Expensive
Fact: Fluoridation is the Most Cost-effective Way to Prevent Tooth Decay and Build Healthy Communities
Fluoridation is actually cheaper than you’d think. Plus, evidence has shown that for many cities, just $1 invested in this health tactic saves $38 to treat dental issues. The state of Texas alone saved $24 per child.
Myth: People Who Drink Fluoridated Water Will Develop Fluorosis
Fact: Fluorosis Occurs When a Person Takes in Very High Amounts of Fluoride
The amount that fluoride is added to water in the United States is extremely low level, and this comes with a very low likelihood of fluorosis. Very few cases will be found in the US, and if they are, they are extremely mild.
Myth: Children Shouldn’t Consume Fluoride
Fact: Getting Enough Fluoride in Childhood is Essential For Strengthening Teeth Over A Lifetime
Babies and children should consume fluoride in order to strengthen their growing teeth. Using fluoride can help them to control cavities and resist decay. Children who drink fluoridated water tend to have stronger teeth over the course of their lifetime. A study performed in 2010 confirmed that the fluoride water consumed when young makes the loss of teeth due to decay less likely 50 years down the line.
Myth: You Shouldn’t Give Babies Fluoridated Water
Fact: Fluoridated Water is Safe For Babies
Babies are fine to drink fluoridated water, and doctors actually suggest it. The ADA states that doctors “can suggest the continued use of powdered or liquid concentrate infant formulas reconstituted with optimally fluoridated drinking water.” Discussing it with your health provider first could help to ensure you have peace of mind. A study even concluded that the effect of mild fluorosis was not adverse and could even be favorable.
Myth: There’s No Evidence To Prove That Fluoridated Water Helps Tooth Decay
Fact: Dozens of Studies and 70 years of Experience Have Consistently Shown That Fluoridation Reduces Tooth Decay
Not only has the CDC recognized fluoridation’s effectiveness in preventing tooth decay, it cited this water as one of the top 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. Both adults and children massively benefit from fluoride.
Myth: Fluoride Causes Cancer
Fact: There’s No Evidence To Suggest That Fluoride Is Linked To Cancer
Many studies have proven that fluoride in water does not increase the risk of cancer, or any other serious health problems. That means that anybody who says that fluoride causes heart disease, diabetes, or kidney problems is misinformed. Researchers from all over the world have conducted hundreds of studies that look at the safety of adding low concentrations of fluoride to drinking water. There’s no evidence whatsoever that fluoride added to local water supplies in the United States causes health problems aside from the occasional mild case of dental fluorosis.
It is endorsed as being safe by both the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Myth: Fluoride is Unnatural
Fact: Fluoride Can be Found Naturally in Water and Other Sources
Fluoride is actually a natural mineral, as we have already mentioned here. Fluoridation only increases the level of fluoride to one that helps decrease decay, so although water doesn’t contain these levels naturally, the natural mineral is simply being topped up so that it can have the desired positive effect on the teeth and long term oral health. Fluoride is not toxic nor man-made.
So - is Fluoride Good For Your Teeth?
Fluoride is absolutely good for your teeth, and drinking water containing fluoride is recommended for babies, children, and adults. Over the long term this will help to reduce tooth decay and cavities, and help to reduce the amount that Americans spend on dental care. Products that contain fluoride should also be utilized, such as toothpaste and mouthwash. Although too much fluoride could cause mild cases of fluorosis, this is not dangerous and is nothing to worry about.
If you need any of your worries put at ease, simply meet with your doctor or a dental professional and ask them how to proceed with the usage of fluoride for you and your family. Ultimately, you and your family will benefit from the use of fluoridated water and products.