Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in all water sources. It is also produced synthetically for use in drinking waters, toothpaste or mouthwashes.
Research has shown that fluoride is the best cavity fighter. This is the reason why water authorities add fluoride to the municipal water supply. There are also concerns regarding fluoride’s effect on our general health, including problems with bones or neurological development. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms that fluoride is safety and has a lot of benefits. There is no scientific evidence regarding adverse health effects of this mineral, as long as it is used in normal doses. It was thought that there may be a connection between cancer and fluoridated water. Studies done by the National Cancer Institute revealed that this is not true.
In case you are afraid that the amount of fluoride is too big, go and talk to your dentist. Excessive exposure to fluoride may be linked to some health issues. During childhood this exposure may lead to dental fluorosis (tiny white streaks in the enamel of the tooth). But keep in mind that as long as the fluoride level in water is the normal one , as long as you use a fluoride tooth paste and you spit out the toothpaste after brushing your teeth, the risk of having health problems because of fluoride consumption does not exist.
The American Dental Association believes that adding fluoride is like fortifying milk with vitamin D or cereals with B vitamins.
Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth. It also reverse early decay. In children under 6 years old fluoride becomes incorporated into the development of permanent teeth, making it difficult for the acids to demineralize the teeth. It strengthen your teeth by helping remineralization (if acid has already caused damage to your teeth, fluoride accumulates in the demineralized areas and begins strengthening the enamel).
Studies have shown that it is a necessity for children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years to be exposed to fluoride. It was proved that people who lived in areas with high levels of naturally fluoridated water had fewer problems with cavities than those who didn’t.
A study in 2015 has shown that when fluoride was introduced in water:
- The percentage of children with no decay in their permanent teeth rose by 14%;
- Children had 35% fewer decayed, missing or filled baby teeth;
- There was a 15% increase in children with no decay in their baby teeth.
This means that using fluoride in water to protect teeth reduce the cost of dental procedures.
The Department of Health and Human Services sets the optimal level of fluoride to preventing tooth decay at 0.7 ppm or 0.7 milligrams in every liter of water. The World Health Organization set the limit to 1.5 ppm. Above this limit, the exposure to drinking water may lead to health problems. Please be aware not to take any fluoride supplements without your dentist’s advice.
To conclude, fluoride is safe for your teeth and for your overall health as long as it is consumed in normal doses. Drink fluoride water, brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste and talk to your dentist in case you have issues regarding this topic. Dr. Arhiri is here for you.