Many public health experts agree that treating water with fluoride helps protect teeth without harming people’s health. Health organizations note that the use of dentures has gone down dramatically since the U.S. started fluoridation. At Zeal Dentistry, our San Francisco dentist knows all about preventative dentistry. Let’s explore some of the myths and facts surrounding fluoride treatment.
Myth #1: Fluoride Causes Cancer
Some anti-fluoride activists promote the claim that adding fluoride to water increases your risk of cancer—a review conducted by the U.S. Health Public Service found no evidence that water fluoridation had any ties to causing cancer in humans through drinking water.
Myth #2: Adding Fluoride Does Not Reduce Tooth Decay
Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other health entities have examined years of data in the years since we started fluoride treatment of water. They showed a link between fluoridation and a reduction in tooth decay in the general population by up to 27%. Many people choose to have fluoride treatments by dentists to prevent tooth decay.
Myth #3: Fluoride Can Destroy Teeth
People who absorb high levels of fluoride may develop a condition known as fluorosis. It is defined by the presence of faint white specks on the surface of your teeth. The overwhelming majority of cases tend to be mild. People do not experience any pain from fluorosis, and there is no evidence that the condition affects the functioning of teeth. In fact, many dentists offer fluoride treatments to boost the health of teeth.
Myth #4: Fluoride Isn’t Necessary for Children
Studies have documented that giving kids enough fluoride in childhood can reduce their chances of developing cavities. Fluoride treatment in water is safe and effective for children of all ages. Children who get fluoride tend to build healthier teeth and are less likely to suffer from tooth decay as adults.
Myth #5: Fluoride In Toothpaste is Sufficient in Fighting Tooth Decay
Most experts agree that a combination of fluoridated water and fluoride in teeth is the best way to protect teeth. Using fluoride toothpaste is often not enough to significantly battle tooth decay. People who use a toothpaste containing fluoride build upon the benefits brought by drinking fluoridated water.
Myth #6: Fluoride Added to Water is More Harmful Than “Natural” Fluoride
There is no difference in the fluoride that occurs naturally in water and the compound added to drinking water. It is derived from fluorine, a naturally occurring element. The fluoride added to water is identical to the fluoride ions already present in water.
Myth #7: Fluoride Produces a Lot of Waste
There are no additional waste treatment costs that come with adding fluoride to water. Companies go through their normal disposal process and expend the same amount of energy. The water additive grade for fluoridated water is not of low quality. Companies are not making a profit by adding an unnecessary element to the water.
Myth #8: Fluoride Harms the Development of Teeth in Infants
The CDC has confirmed that providing infants with appropriate fluoride levels can prevent future tooth decay once they develop teeth. There should be no issues with using fluoridated water to mix infant formula.
Myth #9: Fluoride is a Medication and Not a Nutrient
Cases brought before judges in the U.S. arguing that fluoride is a medication have been consistently rejected. Justices have agreed with public health experts on the importance of fluoride as a nutrient for ensuring good oral hygiene.
Get the Facts at Zeal Dentistry
The doctors at Zeal Dentistry provide individualized care to every patient who walks through our doors. We work to build a relationship with each patient, so they feel comfortable trusting us to look after their oral health.