Fluoride is a mineral that’s naturally found in your teeth and bones, as well as water, rocks, plants, and even the air that you breathe! Dentists also use fluoride to reinforce the enamel and prevent cavities.
Rumors have long been swirling about the safety of fluoride in drinking water, leading to misconceptions about fluoride treatments. Here, we’ll discuss fluoride, clarify its role in dental treatment, and debunk fluoride myths.
Fluoride for Oral Health
Fluoride has been shown to provide a variety of oral health benefits, including:
- Counter early tooth decay
- Fends off detrimental bacteria in the mouth
- Impedes mineral loss from the enamel
- Reduces the risk of cavities
- Has the ability to remineralize (restore) diminished tooth enamel
When the bacteria in your mouth consume sugar from food particles, they create acid. This acid gradually breaks down the tooth enamel. The enamel is the outermost layer of the teeth, and it protects the inner layers (pulp and dentin) from damage. When the enamel corrodes, patients generally have a higher risk of tooth decay, a yellowed smile, and tooth sensitivity.
Fluoride is found in toothpaste, mouthwash, and supplements. Dentists also often apply a topical fluoride solution after routine cleanings.
The CDC has stated that water fluoridation is a safe practice that’s highly effective for cavity prevention and supporting overall oral health. According to the CDC, the benefits of fluoride have been confirmed by scientific reviews from the U.S. Public Health Service, the United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health Research, and the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia.
There isn’t sufficient or satisfactory evidence connecting water fluoridation to an increased risk of health conditions or disorders, such as Down syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, osteoporosis, immune disorder, or reduced intelligence in children.
For more answers to your fluoride questions and to schedule your next dental cleaning, contact Lowry & Obrochta Dentistry today!