Did you know tooth decay is the second most common disease only behind the common cold?! That is why utilizing fluoride in our daily dental care is so important. Fluoride is a mineral found naturally in water, soil, plants, and foods. However, it can also be synthetically produced in toothpaste, drinking water, mouthwash and various other dental care products.
Fluoride is most often used to strengthen tooth enamel. Also known as the thin outer covering of your teeth. It is key to protecting and preventing cavities. In the United States and other countries, fluoride is added in small amounts to the public water supply. This is a process called “water fluoridation.” The CDC states that consuming fluoride in water strengthens your teeth and reduces cavities by 25% in both children and adults.
1. Myth: Fluoride is toxic/Can develop fluorosis:
Fluorosis is caused by taking in extremely high levels of fluoride during the teeth-forming years, while the teeth are still forming under the gums. You cannot develop fluorosis once your teeth have already breached the gums.
Fluorosis is not a disease and does not affect the strength of your teeth. It is simply a cosmetic condition that causes faint white lines and streaks on your enamel. The low amount of fluoride added to water in the United States is very unlikely to lead to fluorosis.
2. Myth: Fluoride is too expensive for communities:
Fluoride is one of the cheapest methods to prevent tooth decay. Cheaper than treating tooth decay itself. In fact, I will let you know just how inexpensive it is! The American Dental Association states that the average lifetime cost per person to fluoridate a water supply happens to be less than the cost of receiving one dental filling. For comparison, a $1 investment in water fluoridation is the equivalent of saving $38 in dental treatment costs in most cities. Having these preventative measures in place ensures that these dental treatment expenses are unneeded in the future.
3. Myth: Fluoride in our drinking water is unnecessary due to the fluoride in toothpaste:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fluoride in toothpaste doesn’t solely provide the necessary level of protection to fight tooth decay. Fluoride in drinking water is actually one of the most efficient ways to prevent tooth decay. Fluoride not only protects against tooth decay, but also assists in making your teeth’s enamel more resistant to acid attacks.
4. Myth: Fluoride is dangerous for children:
When used as instructed, fluoride is not harmful at all for children. In fact, children should drink fluoridated water as it helps to strengthen their teeth as they grow! Doing so, helps to prevent possible tooth decay in the future. Of course, drinking fluoridated water should also be utilized alongside fluoride toothpaste to receive maximum teeth strengthening benefits.
Additional Fluoride Facts
Before fluoridation was common, in the early 1960s, the average adult had 18 decayed, missing, or filled teeth.
· The US Department of Health states that the optimal fluoride levels needed in community water systems to protect against tooth decay is 0.7 mg/L
· Fluoride keeps your teeth strong and healthy at any age!