Fluoride is a compound that is naturally found in nature — from the foods that we eat and the water that we drink. However, despite its abundance in nature, many of us are still suffer from dental problems especially tooth decay. Because of this, medical and dental experts have been in favor of recommending fluoride in toothpaste, tap water, and mouthwash.
Adding fluoride in the tap water has raised many controversies. Is fluoride really causing toxicity? Does fluoridated water cause you more harm than good? To help you answer these questions; let us delve into the myths and facts about fluoride.
Myth: Fluoridated water causes fluorosis and, worse, can cause cancer
Fact: It is true that fluoride can cause fluorosis, that is IF consumed in excessive amounts. The fluoride found in the tooth paste and in the water supply contains regulated amounts, therefore, it is safe and wouldn’t cause any toxicity such as fluorosis. In fact, the American Academy of Family Physicians has even endorsed it.
Myth: Exposure to fluoride lowers the IQ in children
Fact: This myth was rooted from a study published in the Environmental Health Perspectives stating that exposure of pregnant women to fluoride can lower the children’s IQ scores. However, it is important to note also that the study was done in Mexico wherein fluoride levels are naturally higher in the community water and the compound was even added with salt. The study conducted is not applicable to US water supply since the amount of fluoride added in the community water is regulated and in safe amounts.
Myth: Fluoride will only damage the teeth
Fact: The “damage” could be dental fluorosis which typically happens to young children that is being exposed to excessive amounts of fluoride. When this happens, the growing adult teeth of these children may have white spots. However, dental fluorosis can be easily treated with cosmetic dental procedures. Teeth cavities are more harmful and damaging than dental fluorosis which you will get if you wont get advantage from fluoride in toothpaste and fluoridated water.
Fluoride is an important component which helps strengthen your tooth enamel and decrease the risk of cavities by locking the calcium into your teeth.
Myth: Fluoride is dangerous to children
Fact: Another common misconception about fluoride is the belief that it is harmful to children. Truth is, anything that is in excess is dangerous. But with the regulated amount of fluoride in tap water in the US, no study had proved the link of fluoride to certain types of illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, kidney problems, arthritis, and others.
Many cases of fluoride toxicity were recorded annually though. However, it involves young children ingesting large amounts of toothpastes or mistakenly swallowed mouth rinse. Parents can take extra precautions to protect their children against fluoride toxicity by keeping their toothpaste and mouth rinse out of their children’s reach.
Myth: Fluoride is banned in many countries
Fact: No country has ever banned the use of fluoridated water. Only that some countries opt for the alternative treatment which is salt fluoridation. There are also some countries that use fluoridated milk as a way of promoting dental health.