There’s a lot of information—and misinformation—about fluoride online. The truth is that fluoride is an important instrument in your oral health tool belt, and it’s backed by solid science and research. Let’s look at four of the most common myths and the facts that debunk them.
1. Myth: Fluoride is harmful and toxic.
Fact: Fluoride, when used appropriately, is safe and beneficial for oral health! It is present naturally in water sources and is commonly added to community water supplies to prevent tooth decay. The fluoride levels used in public water fluoridation and dental products are carefully regulated and monitored to ensure safety. Extensive research supports the effectiveness and safety of fluoride in preventing cavities.
2. Myth: Fluoride is only beneficial for children’s teeth.
Fact: Fluoride provides dental benefits for people of all ages. It helps prevent tooth decay by strengthening tooth enamel and making it more resistant to acid attacks from bacteria. Adults can also benefit from fluoride to protect their teeth and prevent cavities. Topical fluoride treatments, such as fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinses, are recommended for both children and adults.
3. Myth: Using fluoride toothpaste is enough; additional fluoride treatments are unnecessary.
Fact: While fluoride toothpaste is an important component of oral hygiene, additional fluoride treatments may be recommended in certain situations. We may even recommend professional fluoride treatments, such as gels or varnishes, for patients at higher risk of cavities or those with weakened enamel. This includes people with a history of tooth decay, orthodontic patients, and individuals with dry mouth conditions.
4. Myth: Natural toothpaste without fluoride is a better alternative.
Fact: Fluoride toothpaste is highly recommended for effective cavity prevention! Natural toothpaste without fluoride may lack the key ingredient that helps strengthen enamel and protect against decay. While natural toothpaste options can have other beneficial ingredients, it is essential to choose a toothpaste that contains fluoride to maintain optimal oral health.
5. Myth: Fluoride is only beneficial when ingested.
Fact: While drinking fluoridated water provides systemic benefits, topical application of fluoride is also crucial for cavity prevention. Direct contact of fluoride with tooth surfaces through toothpaste, mouth rinses, or professional treatments helps strengthen and protect teeth. Fluoride’s ability to remineralize enamel and inhibit bacterial activity is most effective when applied directly to the teeth.
If you have questions about fluoride, talk to us! We can also point you to evidence-based information to understand the benefits and appropriate use of fluoride for maintaining good oral health.