Fluoride: Myths & Facts

You see it everywhere: fluoride added to everything from toothpaste and mouthwash to municipal drinking water. What’s the big deal? Fluoride prevents, and, in some cases, reverses tooth decay and harden tooth enamel. Despite that, several myths about fluoride exist today. Let’s bust some of them to reveal the truth about fluoride.

History of Fluoride and Its Results

In 1945, Grand Rapids, Michigan began a comparison test between the city and nearby Muskegon. They started the study after they began adding fluoride to drinking water. In the meantime, Muskegon went without. In the process, researchers performed “before and after” dental exams – among other tests to both groups. The results: the dental health of Grand Rapids’ residents was far superior to the Muskegon group. In fact, the results were so startling, by the end of the study, Muskegon began fluorinating their water, too!

Myths Regarding Fluoride

Myths about fluoride abound. One claims that fluoride causes health problems (including cancer!) Another myth is that fluoride leads to a condition called fluorosis, which negatively affects teeth. In fact, that myth asserted that fluoride not only fails to protect teeth but causes pits and brown spots. In that scenario, adding fluoride to drinking water would be the equivalent of making people take unwanted medication. 

Fluoride Facts

Fluoride is not a medication. It is a mineral. Thus, adding it to water is a public health measure (much like adding Vitamin D to milk). In addition, many authoritative groups consider water fluorination and water treatments safe and effective for cavity prevention. As for fluorosis, the condition is real but never occurs in the U.S. Instead, it occurs primarily in areas where the natural fluoride in the water is much higher than the amount administered by the United States. When fluorosis occurs in the U.S, it is usually so mild that only a dentist would be able to tell that the condition exists.

Fluoride Treatments

Fluoride can be administered in two effective ways: systemic and topical. When administered systemically, the tooth receives the fluoride from the bloodstream via food, water, or dietary supplements. Such administrative practices reduce tooth decay by as much as 60% — particularly among young children. Your dental health professional may also administer fluoride directly to the tooth surface or topically during routine visits. DIY solutions include toothpaste and at-home fluoride gels.

About Dr. Fred Wong of Blue Ocean Dentistry in Glendora

Dr. Fred Wong and the staff at Blue Ocean Dentistry use the latest available dental treatments, equipment, and materials – all of which make a marked difference in our patients’ experiences. We are committed to helping our patients achieve optimal dental health. We creatively combine dental science and artistry — which can literally redesign your smile. Since even a subtle change in your smile will help you to project self-confidence and high self-esteem, we love helping you feel good about yourself. We deliver the finest dental care at the most reasonable cost and accept most dental insurance plans as well as CareCredit. For more about the dental treatment plans we offer or to schedule an appointment, call today (626) 852-6999.