There are many myths and misconceptions regarding oral care. A commonly held belief is that fluoride isn’t an important ingredient in mouth products, but it’s time to learn the truth about fluoride and its many benefits!
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in water, soil, and various types of food. It is often added to toothpaste and mouthwash as a way to strengthen teeth and enamel, but unfortunately, there are a few misconceptions regarding its usage. To ensure that your oral health is at its best, here are some interesting facts about fluoride, as well as truths to various fluoride myths.
Let’s start with important fluoride facts and analyze some of the ways in which this mineral compound can greatly benefit dental care:
Fact #1 – Fluoride is naturally present in most water sources.
- Yes, fluoride is found in groundwater, freshwater, saltwater, and even rainwater. Concentrations and levels can, however, vary greatly depending on the source.
Fact #2 – Fluoridated water is safe to consume.
- Fluorine has been present in U.S. drinking water for over 70 years. Despite concerns about fluorosis, our standard drinking water contains a low enough level of fluorine that it dramatically reduces the likelihood of this condition.
Fact #3 – Fluoride benefits overall oral health.
- Between strengthening enamel and reducing the chance of tooth decay, fluoride has plenty of positive benefits for the mouth and teeth. Fluoride locks calcium into your teeth, reducing the rate in which they decay. It also makes our enamel resistant to demineralization, which helps fight against bacteria that wear enamel down.
A variety of fluoride myths do exist, but nearly all of them can be debunked. Here are some common misconceptions regarding fluoride and reasons why they are incorrect:
Myth – Drinking fluoridated water is dangerous and can cause conditions such as cancer or autism.
Fact – No evidence that fluoridated water can cause cancer, autism, or other health defects such as diabetes or kidney failure exists. It is deemed safe for consumption by both the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Myth – Fluoride is dangerous for children.
Fact – Fluoride is not dangerous to children as long as it’s consumed and utilized as intended and at proper levels. Even fluorosis, which often raises concern, is generally harmless and temporary.
Myth – There is a difference between natural and added fluoride.
Fact – There is no chemical or functional difference between naturally occurring and added fluoride. They function just the same, no matter what they are in.
Myth – Fluoridated water is obsolete because fluoride already exists in toothpaste.
Fact – While fluoride is an ingredient in toothpaste, the amount present is not enough to adequately reduce tooth decay. Instead, it’s recommended that toothpaste is paired with fluoridated water for a proper oral care routine.
FAQs About Fluoride
Read below for answers to some frequently asked questions regarding fluoride.
- What happens to teeth without fluoride? – Without the use of fluoride in toothpaste, mouthwash, and other products, your teeth are unprotected from bacteria and acids that wear down teeth and enamel. As a result, you have a significantly higher chance of cavities, tooth decay, and loss of enamel lining.
- Where does fluoride come from? – Fluoride is present in various natural water sources, as well as within several minerals on earth, particularly fluorite.
- Is fluoride good for your teeth? – One of the most important fluoride benefits is in the way it acts as a protective agent for our teeth. It essentially shields your tooth enamel to reduce the chance of cavities.
- Is fluoride unsafe to consume in large amounts? – Fluoride products such as toothpaste and mouthwash are made to have a safe amount of fluoride for regular use. It’s always advised to use as intended and follow each product’s directions.
Prioritize Your Oral Health
At Inspire Dental Wellness, we want every patient to feel beautiful, inside and out, and that begins with feeling confident about your smile. We offer preventative and cosmetic dentistry services for individuals and families that range from cleanings, tongue ties, aligners, braces, and even infant oral care.
If you’re in need of a dentist in Orland Park, IL, contact us today to schedule your first appointment.