The internet is full of misinformation, and the fluoride debate is a prime example of this. People say that fluoride is toxic and can have negative effects on your brain. People fear it can increase the risk of cancer and negatively impact sexual development. With all the misinformation on the internet, it’s important to listen to the scientists who have studied and are experts in the field to learn what information is true and what is blown out of proportion. Here’s what science has to say about whether or not fluoride is bad for you.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral, and is in many foods and in water without having been added in. It can be found even in natural water masses, like the ocean. Fluoride is nature’s way of preventing tooth decay, as it helps strengthen our teeth merely by being in the food we eat and the water we drink. Without fluoride and other such minerals that repair our tooth enamel from the demineralization process of acids and the like in our foods, our teeth would be even more susceptible to decay.
How Does Fluoride Work?
Above, it’s mentioned that fluoride is a mineral. Whenever we eat or drink, there are two mineral processes that occur. First, there’s demineralization. This is when acids from sugars and bacteria hit your teeth’s enamel. This isn’t good for your teeth, but nature has a way to fight it with the second mineral process, which is called remineralization. Remineralization is when fluoride and other minerals like calcium repair the tooth enamel, saving it from damage and decay.
Benefits Of Fluoride
Because fluoride is nature’s way to strengthen your teeth, its key benefit is as a cavity preventer. Fluoride assists in the remineralization process of our tooth enamel, essential to healthy, strong teeth. As such, it both helps to preserve teeth and also works to prevent cavities. It also makes teeth resistant to things in the demineralization process like plaque, bacteria, sugar, and other such things that can cause tooth decay. Additionally, it can even reverse early tooth decay.
The Side Effects
As with anything, fluoride does have risk factors. It’s important to note that it is very difficult to reach a bad level of fluoride, though, and that the benefits far outweigh the risks.
The main concern for fluoride is the risk of fluorosis for children with developing teeth. Fluorosis is a darkening of the tooth enamel when a child consumes too much fluoride and can be easily avoided through consulting with a dentist about how much fluoride a child can consume. In extreme cases, fluorosis can result in pits between the teeth, but through following dental advice, such side effects need not be a concern.
People also fear fluoride toxicity and that it has been associated with negative health effects such as depression and heart disease. These only happen at high doses, which is why it is important to use fluoride as directed, as that is to ensure it remains safe and effective.
So, Is Fluoride Safe?
Dentists wouldn’t use fluoride if it were bad for your teeth or you. More than 75 years of scientific research prove that fluoride within water is both safe and prevents tooth decay. Parents do need to monitor fluoride intake with their children, as it is easier for them to consume too much and they are at higher risk for fluorosis while their teeth are still developing under their gums. However, with listening to dental advice, it is important that children are exposed to fluoride, as its benefits are especially important for their developing teeth.
Fluoride is nature’s way of fighting cavities. It wouldn’t be a natural part of the remineralization process that helps protect your teeth and strengthen them if it weren’t safe.
There are a number of different fluoride treatments besides what is naturally occurring. Fluoride is in toothpastes and mouthwashes for daily added protection. You can also receive fluoride treatments from your dentist, where they use a gel, foam, or varnish to apply it to your teeth. Dentists can also supply a fluoride supplement for you.
If you have a condition such as a gum disease, are subject to cavities, or have any other condition that increases your risk of tooth decay, you should consult with your dentist about if you would benefit from additional fluoride treatments.
Do You Need To Schedule A Fluoride Treatment?
Here at North View Dental, we understand the importance of fluoride for healthy, strong teeth. We offer fluoride treatments to help your teeth fight off cavities. If you would like to set up an appointment or if you have any questions about either fluoride or any other dental concerns, please contact us at North View Dental today.