When it comes to fluoride, there’s a lot of misinformation out there. We’ve sorted through the rumors to get down to the truth about fluoride and its benefits for your dental health.
Myth #1: Fluoride doesn’t really prevent tooth decay.
Evidence of the benefits of fluoride in preventing tooth decay dates back to the 1940’s when dental researchers in the US noticed lower occurrences of tooth decay in areas with naturally occurring fluoride in the water. This prompted a community-wide study in which researchers quickly realized that fluoride was so beneficial to the population in the study area that it would be unethical not to add more fluoride to the water everywhere!
Myth #2: Fluoride causes health problems.
Supposed links between fluoride and health issues, from cancer to autism to neurological disorders, have been touted for years in the media. However, there is no confirmed link between fluoride and any of these conditions. The studies and anecdotal evidence that supposedly support these claims are always plagued with issues, such as small sample sizes, biased researchers, or isolated extreme incidents. On the flip side, multiple studies confirm the safety and effectiveness of fluoride supplementation, with no evidence of associated medical problems.
One condition that can be caused by excessive fluoride intake, however, is fluorosis. Fluorosis is a cosmetic dental condition and is typically mild. It occurs when a person ingests too much fluoride over a long period of time while the permanent teeth are developing. Therefore, fluorosis is only a risk for children up to around 8 years old. When a community already has naturally high amounts of fluoride in their water and it is also artificially fluoridated, fluorosis can occur. Severe fluorosis is extremely rare.
Myth #3: Fluoride is unnatural.
As stated in the first fact, fluoride is a naturally occurring substance found in most water supplies. Fluoride leaches out of rocks and soil in contact with the water supply. The amount of fluoride that occurs naturally in water varies depending on the types of nearby rocks and minerals. Fluoride supplementation only increases the level of fluoride already there.
Salt water contains more fluoride than ground or surface water, so some countries and communities use salt fluoridation systems to supplement their water supplies.
Here at Piper Family Dentistry in Largo, we offer safe and beneficial fluoride treatments for both children and adults. Call us at (727) 548-7100 or contact us online to schedule your appointment today!
Dr. Piper is a General and Cosmetic Dentist who has proudly served Pinellas County since 1993. Both he and his team of professionals provide high quality, gentle dental care in a relaxed, personalized, and caring environment. Treating patients like family sets his practice apart from others.