Facts About Fluoride

Is fluoride good, or is it bad? Do we need to use it to supplement our oral hygiene, or not? You may have heard conflicting information about the importance of fluoride. We hope the information provided below will help you to understand the fluoride benefits!

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is an inorganic fluorine ion. Fluorine is an element, but fluoride—at least in the dental industry—refers to sodium fluoride. Sodium fluoride dissolves well in water, which is why it’s found in water supplies, as well as toothpaste and other dental products.

What does fluoride do?

In the 1930s, scientists discovered that people who lived in areas with higher levels of naturally occurring fluoride in their tap water had lower rates of tooth decay. In fact, fluoride is naturally present in all water, but municipalities often add more to promote better dental health.

Fluoride has been shown to reduce—and sometimes even reverse—tooth decay. It helps to keep your tooth enamel strong, which is the first line of defense against cavities. The amount of fluoride in drinking water and toothpaste is quite small, yet it can help to reduce cavity risk, as long as people keep up with the rest of their dental hygiene and diet.

Is fluoride in water safe?

According to the Center for Disease Control, experts “have not found convincing scientific evidence linking community water fluoridation with any potential adverse health effect or systemic disorder such as an increased risk for cancer, Down syndrome, heart disease, osteoporosis and bone fracture, immune disorders, low intelligence, renal disorders, Alzheimer disease, or allergic reactions.”

Fluoride was first added to community water supplies in Michigan, in 1945. The CDC believes this has reduced tooth decay by 25 percent in the intervening years.

Is it okay to use fluoride-supplemented water in infant formula?

Yes! The fluoride levels in tap water are safe to use in your baby’s formula. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you have specific concerns.

Can I get fluoride from food?

Most people get their fluoride from liquids, but it is also present in foods. You can find fluoride in carrots, parsley, russet potatoes and lamb. (Maybe a Sunday roast is in order soon!)

You can also find fluoride in red wine and black tea. Just remember to brush your teeth after drinking these beverages, since they can stain your teeth.

Do I need supplemental fluoride products?

If your community already adds fluoride to the water, and you use a fluoride toothpaste, you likely do not need to add fluoride to your oral health regimen. However, depending on your individual circumstances, your Fioritto dentist may recommend using some additional supplementation for the full fluoride benefits.

If you have questions about fluoride, or any other oral health concerns, there’s no better resource than the caring dentists at Fioritto Family Dental. Call us today!