The National Cancer Institute

Tackling the Myths about Fluoride

November 17th, 2020

You’ve come in for your routine checkup and your hygienist has suggested that you apply fluoride to your teeth. You know that fluoride is in some toothpastes, so you may wonder why do you need extra? In today’s post we will tackle the myths about fluoride:

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a mineral found in your food and water. This mineral is lost when acid from the plaque on your teeth performs a process called demineralization. If too much demineralization occurs, this results in a weakened tooth structure.  When this happens, the tooth has a higher chance of developing a cavity.

Myth #1

Fluoride should not be in drinking water

Truth: Fluoride is found naturally in almost all water supplies.  Even though it is found naturally in water, this is not enough to protect our teeth. It is recommended that your water’s fluoride  levels be at 0.7 parts per million of water to be the most effective.

Myth #2

Fluoride is a medication

Truth: Fluoride is not medicine. It is a mineral. When proper amounts are consumed, decay is less rampant and teeth are healthier and stronger.

Myth #3

Fluoride causes cancer

Fact: There is no scientific evidence to prove this. In fact, The National Cancer Institute has performed decades of studies that debunk this. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that fluoridation is one of the top 10 public health achievements within the last 20 years.

Myth #4

Fluoride is not good for young children

Fact: When children drink fluoridated water, the enamel of their teeth becomes strengthened at an early age.

Myth #5

Fluoride can damage my teeth

Fact: This is partially true. While decay is much more damaging, high levels of fluoride can cause a condition called fluorosis. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), fluorosis is the appearance of faint, white lines on teeth in children who have consumed too much fluoride. In most cases, the appearance is mild.  After the age of 8, the chances of fluorosis decreases.  For children younger 3, it is recommended that parents brush their teeth with toothpaste equivalent to the size of a grain of rice. For children 3-6, a parent should use a pea sized amount.

Types of Fluoride

Topical Fluoride: aids in the remineralization of teeth and stops bacteria from growing. This reduces the amount of plaque on teeth.

  • Toothpaste: is the most commonly used self-applied fluoride. When used, the fluoride concentration in your saliva increases 100-1000 fold. However this is short term as the fluoride baseline returns to normal in 1-2 hours. Most over the counter toothpastes have a concentration of 1,000-1,500 ppm.

  • Mouth rinses or gels are to be used daily or weekly. These are meant to be rinsed out of the mouth. Use in children under the age of 6 is not recommended. These mouth washes have 230 ppm of fluoride.

  • Fluoride varnish is applied professionally by a health care professional. This allows for high concentrations of fluoride to come in contact with teeth for several hours. It is recommended that fluoride is applied twice a year for the best benefits. According to the CDC, there is no evidence that professionally applied fluoride leads to fluorosis in children under the age of 6.

Systemic Fluoride: fluoride that is consumed

  • Water fluoridation is the most inexpensive way to receive fluoride to prevent tooth decay. Studies have shown that it is effective in reducing tooth decay in children and adults by up to 20-40%.
  • Dietary fluoride can be prescribed for children who are 6 months and older that are high risk for tooth decay. Tablets or lozenges are prescribed in the concentrations of 0.25, 0.5, or 1.0 mg. These are meant to be sucked on for 1-2 minutes before swallowing. The following guidelines are recommended by the ADA. All prescriptions should follow this guideline.

This pandemic has impacted us all, but our community is indeed all stronger together. Our team at WDG always has your safety and health as our top priority, and we have implemented additional safety measures and equipment to help prevent the transmission of all infections, including COVID-19. Wellesley Dental Group has completely reopened since June 8th, 2020 for all dental procedures and cleanings! Thank you for entrusting your health and dental care to us at Wellesley Dental Group.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist, Dr. Derek, and Dr. Emad is happy to help with your TMJ and orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs, Dr. Stephens would love to help, and our gum-specialist Dr. Singh can help with your gum-related concerns.

References:

https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/f/fluorosis

https://www.ada.org/en/science-research/ada-seal-of-acceptance/ada-seal-products?source=promospots&medium=button&content=adasealproducts

https://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/fluoride-topical-and-systemic-supplements

https://www.colgateprofessional.com/hygienists/articles/debunking-fluoride-myths-how-to-educate-patients-about-its-benef

https://cdn-prod.medicalnewstoday.com/content/images/articles/154/154164/fluoride-in-dental-products.jpg

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.medicalnewstoday.com%2Farticles%2F154164&psig=AOvVaw2NJejBfB1Ydoy65OFZ2CyZ&ust=1605729126520000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAIQjRxqFwoTCNCLw6Wtiu0CFQAAAAAdAAAAABAD

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