Dental Fluoride: Facts and FAQS
Fluoride is a topic you probably only hear of when you go to the dentist or visit your more conspiratorial friends. You may have heard of the benefits of fluoride use – and the concerns for its safety. But is there any truth to the claims that fluoride is a dangerous dental hygiene product? Should you be worried about the effect of fluoride?
Many of us already have anxiety about going to the dentist, and when we hear about unsafe products, we worry. Misinformation does nothing to help ease this anxiety. For now, relax and take a look at the most common concerns about fluoride with Dawson Dental, and make sure to contact a dentist before making any changes to your hygiene regimen.
FAQ About the Use and Effects of Fluoride
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in soil, water, and foods. You’ll also see it added to things like toothpaste, mouthwashes, and other chemical products. It’s one of the many tools that dentists use to protect your teeth.
How Does Fluoride Work?
Fluoride prevents tooth decay and helps remineralization. It helps fortify the structure of children’s developing teeth, which makes them more resistant to acidity. By reducing the amount of dangerous oral bacteria, fluoride use also creates a healthier mouth by preventing future problems. Fewer bacteria equal less acid produced, which means stronger teeth! Essentially, fluoride is a mineral that coats your teeth and acts as a shield from acid attacks.
What are the Effects of Fluoride on Teeth?
Fluoride is beneficial for teeth in several ways. If you have recurring cavities or lack access to a dentist, fluoride is especially useful. Studies have shown that fluoride use can rebuild weakened tooth enamel. It also slows down mineral loss and reverses early signs of tooth decay. Best yet, it can prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, which is the source of the problem! Basically, by using fluoride, you can expect stronger, healthier teeth with fewer cavities.
Is Fluoride Safe for Kids?
Early use of fluoride in children’s dental products and dentistry has been shown to have life-long positive effects. Children who start using fluoride early in life have less decay than those who do not. With proper use, fluoride is a safe, natural mineral that helps keep your teeth healthy at any age. Look for toothpaste that’s approved by the Canadian Dental Association and brush twice a day!
Who Benefits from the Effects of Flouride?
It’s a fact that everyone has unique medical and health needs, which is why it’s important to talk to your dentist first about the products and treatments you want to use. In general, however, the people who most benefit from fluoride use are people who:
- Have limited access to a dentist
- Snack often
- Enjoy foods high in sugar or carbohydrates
- Have had previous dental work
- Have a history of decay or cavities
If you have one or more of these qualities, perhaps a fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash is right for you.
What are the Effects of Fluoride in the Drinking Water?
Here is the main source of the fluoride controversy. Research- that has since been reviewed and criticized- made concerning claims about fluoride use. Some municipal authorities add fluoride to the water supply because studies have shown that it reduces tooth decay. This process is called fluoridation. While there have been hundreds of international studies conducted on this subject, no evidence suggests any harmful side effects, aside from the occasional case of mild fluorosis. Fluorosis is a rare syndrome that occurs only upon excess fluoride consumption, so if it causes you concern, just monitor your use carefully. Remember that fluoride use is heavily regulated to keep levels in products and the water supply safe.
So Is Fluoride Bad for You?
The controversy of adding fluoride to drinking water is a very old practice to reduce cavities, but it remains controversial. Some people believe that dental health should be handled at an individual level, and not community-wide. Arguments for this include evidence that fluoride is more effective when applied directly to teeth, rather than through water. Water fluoridation is a common practice in North America, but is rare in Europe and Asia. While initial research was limited in its scope and received criticism, recent research is revealing the need for further research. If you’re worried about your fluoride intake, talk to one of our dentists.
Here are the main takeaways. Fluoride is carefully regulated, both in products and in the water. Many studies suggest that fluoride in water decreases rates of tooth decay. They also suggest that limited use of supplemented fluoride is useful and safe. However, excess fluoride use, especially in children, can have negative consequences.
With all the information out there about fluoride, it’s fair to have questions about dental fluoride. Here’s the main takeaway about the effects of fluoride. Just like any substance, excess use or exposure to fluoride can be harmful. It’s important to not use any fluoride supplements without first speaking to a dentist. That being said, dental fluoride is carefully monitored for safety. And the benefits, like preventing tooth decay and remineralization can be worth it in many cases.
Have more questions? The power of a beautiful smile is in your hands. Dawson Dental offers premiere dental clinics in Toronto and throughout the GTA. For more information, call us at 1-855-406-2742. If your tooth is still throbbing like it’s trying to escape your mouth, give us a call and book your appointment or virtual consultation. And check us out on social media!
Looking for more information about your dental health? Check out our blog on the common causes of toothaches here. Dawson Dental has all your questions and concerns covered.