Although fluoride is a mineral found naturally occurring in water and food with a series of health benefits, many people still believe common myths surrounding the use of fluoride. With many studies highlighting its health benefits, such as its ability to strengthen bone density to some degree, fluoride has been used in a variety of different dental products for many years, such as toothpaste and mouthwash. Further, it is commonly given in tablet form to children and is even added to public water supplies.
Still, there are many myths regarding the use of fluoride, and although these myths are not based in fact, it has caused widespread concern in terms of fluoride use. At Advanced Indiana, we believe it is crucial to separate fact from fiction when it comes to the use of fluoride. Today, we will be going over both the facts and myths of fluoride so that you have the accurate information. Let’s get started!
Myth: Fluoride is Dangerous for Children
Although there is a common myth reporting that fluoride is especially unsafe for small children, just the opposite is true. In fact, getting enough fluoride in childhood is critical to strengthening our teeth over the course of an entire lifetime. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, optimal exposure to fluoride is important to both infants and children. Further, the American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that parents consider the use of dietary fluoride supplements for children who are at risk of tooth decay from the age of 6 months to the age of 16 in the event that their water isn’t fluoridated.
Myth: Fluoridation Causes Cancer and Other Serious Health Problems
One of the most common myths surrounding fluoride is that the process of adding fluoride to drinking water – fluoridation – causes cancer and other serious health problems. In reality, leading health and medical organizations agree that fluoridated water is both effective and safe. According to the CDC, “panels of experts from different health and scientific fields have provided strong evidence that water fluoridation is safe and effective.” Further, according to the American Council on Science and Health, “Historically, anti-fluoride activists have claimed, with no evidence, that fluoridation causes everything from cancer to mental disease.” There are various studies that prove that fluoridation has not been found to cause cancer or any other serious health problem.
Myth: Fluoridation Doesn’t Reduce Tooth Decay
While the Internet has run rampant with claims that fluoridation doesn’t actually reduce tooth decay, there are dozens of studies and 70 years of experience that have repeatedly shown that fluoridation actually does reduce tooth decay. In fact, an independent panel of 15 experts from the fields of public health and science reviewed numerous studies and concluded that fluoridation reduces tooth decay by around 29%. The CDC also recognizes fluoridation’s effectiveness in reducing tooth decay, calling it one of the “10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.”
Fact: Fluoridation is One of the Most Cost-Effective Ways to Prevent Tooth Decay
While anti-fluoridation groups have repeatedly cited fluoridation as expensive to communities, fluoridation is, in fact, one of the most cost-effective ways to prevent tooth decay on a community-wide scale. In fact, a community that stops fluoridating, or has never started in the first place, is likely to see residents end up spending more money on dental problems related to tooth decay. In fact, evidence shows that, for most cities, every dollar that is invested in fluoridation saves an estimated $32 in unnecessary dental treatment costs.
Fact: Fluoride Occurs Naturally in Water
While many people who are against fluoridation report that fluoride simply doesn’t belong in drinking water, fluoride actually occurs naturally in water. That being said, fluoridation is needed because the amount of fluoride found naturally occurring in water is rarely at the optimal level needed to effectively protect our teeth. When the amount of fluoride in drinking water is at the optimal level for protecting our teeth, there are proven benefits for public health.
Fact: Fluoride Has Been Recognized as an Important Nutrient for Healthy Teeth
While anti-fluoridation groups have commonly referred to fluoride as a “medicine” added to our water, fluoride is actually a mineral that, when occurring at the right amounts, strengthens teeth. It is simply not a medication. In fact, fluoride is one of many products that is fortified to improve our health. Other examples include the addition of iodine to salt, Vitamin D to milk, and folic acids to breads and cereals. U.S court decisions have repeatedly rejected the argument that fluoride is in any way a medication.
Further Prevent Tooth Decay with Advanced Indiana
Although the use of fluoride goes a long way in helping to strengthen our teeth and prevent tooth decay, you can do even more to keep your teeth healthy by making regular trips to your local dentist. At Advanced Indiana, we offer all of the dental services you need to keep your teeth healthy and strong. Call us today or schedule an appointment online!