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Fluoride – Myths and Facts

Dr. Bisharha of local Shelby Township dentist Pearly Smile Dental Studio, fluoride, a mineral naturally found in water, soil, rocks, and even your own bones and teeth, is commonly added to dental products to improve oral health. With the advent of the Internet though, many controversies and myths have spurred up regarding the safety of using fluoride for dental care.

Particularly in controlled amounts, fluoride is perfectly safe and healthy for oral use. It prevents tooth decay and promotes overall teeth strength. Dental fluorosis can result through consumption of fluoride, but only when done in very high and uncontrolled amounts. 

The rest of the article will present various misconceptions that exist regarding the use of fluoride, and will compare them against facts backed by science and research so that readers can make an informed decision regarding using fluoride for dental and oral care.

Myths and Facts Regarding Fluoride Use

Myth 1:

Fluoride should not be added to water, as consuming fluoridated water poses a high risk of developing dental fluorosis. 

Fact:

Fluorosis only occurs in the case of overconsumption of fluoride. According to Healthline, the maximum allowed amount of fluoride in water is 0.7 ppm in the United States. Fluoride content beyond that may increase the risk of dental or skeletal fluorosis, but most dental products contain a safe concentration of fluoride content so you can use them without being concerned about your health.

Even if dental fluorosis does occur, it is not a matter of huge concern as apart from causing the appearance of white spots on the teeth, it does not cause any major harm. Skeletal fluorosis, on the other hand, is more dangerous as it can cause alteration of the bone structure, but it is a relatively rare condition.

Myth 2:

Fluoride should not be given to children because it can negatively affect their overall bone and oral strength.

Fact:

Whether for children or adults, fluoride is actually a beneficial mineral for promoting overall oral health as it strengthens the enamel to protect against tooth decay and loss. Danger only exists when fluoride is consumed in an unhealthy way, such as children swallowing large amounts of toothpaste. To prevent that from happening, adults should supervise their children while they are brushing their teeth.

Myth 3:

Fluoride is not a natural substance and must therefore be avoided.

Fact:

Fluoride naturally exists in nature and can be found in water, soil, plants, rocks etc. It does not naturally exist in a concentration high enough to protect teeth against decay and loss, but that is made up by a variety of dental products in the market supplying the user with the right amount of fluoridation for their oral well-being.

Myth 4:

Consuming fluoride increases the risk of cancer, autism, diabetes and kidney problems.

Fact:

Fluoride has been regarded as a perfectly safe nutrient by various scientific institutes and organizations such as the American Academy of Family Physicians. It does not have any direct relationship with increasing the risk of cancer, autism, or any sort of heart and kidney problems.

Myth 5:

If you’re using a fluoride toothpaste, you don’t need to have fluoridated water.

Fact:

Numerous researches have shown that toothpastes don’t contain the optimum amount of fluoride that is required for proper oral care and well-being. You should both maintain your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste and regularly consume fluoridated water to equip yourself with maximum protection against tooth and enamel decay.

Myth 6:

Fluoride is expensive and must be replaced with more cost-effective alternatives for oral care.

Fact:

In reality, fluoridated water is not only one of the most cost-effective, but also essential substances for improving overall dental care in a community. Studies show that investment in public fluoridated water greatly reduces the amount of visits required to dental clinics and saves 32$ of the overall money spent in dental centers.

Myth 7:

While naturally occurring fluoride is beneficial, artificially produced fluoride is harmful for oral health.

Fact:

There’s no difference between the consumption of naturally occurring and artificially produced fluoride content. Artificially produced fluoride is actually more beneficial because fluoride does not exist in an amount high enough in nature to provide the necessary nutrients required for a solid oral health. This is why dental clinics prescribe the regular use of fluoride toothpastes, mouth washes and fluoridated water.

Myth 8:

Fluoride consumption during pregnancy can cause the child to develop a low IQ level.

Fact:

Any substance, when taken in excess, has its harms to offer. When taken in controlled and safe amounts, fluoride has no impact on the child’s IQ level. 

Conclusion

Various myths exist on the Internet regarding the use of fluoride, but it is up to the readers to consult verified and science-backed sources to get to the root of fluoride’s actual impact on oral health. You can consume fluoride through dental products and supplements with absolute ease without having to worry as long as you are consuming it in the right amount as prescribed by your local medical clinics.

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