If you’re of the opinion that fluoride is a chemical additive to dental products that is of questionable safety, then you are not alone. Many people question if fluoride is safe, or if it is actually detrimental to your oral health. There are those who believe that fluoride is to be avoided at all costs, unless you want your teeth to suffer some terrible consequences. Is fluoride safe? Is it actually good for your oral health, or does it do more harm than good? Here’s what you need to know about fluoride and its safety.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that is found throughout nature and the Earth’s crust, even in natural water and food supplies. It’s often referred to as nature’s cavity fighter, because of this, especially considering how fluoride works to strengthen your teeth and help to protect them from decay. Because fluoride is safe and has so many benefits for your oral health, many U.S. cities add it into the water supplies, in order to reduce the amount of cavities the general population gets.
Fluoride is often used in dental practices to do what it does naturally: strengthen your enamel and stave off cavities. There are plenty of studies that have shown how fluoride in community water supplies and fluoride treatments at the dentist’s office decrease tooth decay.
What Does Fluoride Do?
It’s important to take the best care of your oral health as possible – you only get one set of natural permanent teeth, after all. Fluoride helps with this, in how it fights off tooth decay. How fluoride strengthens your teeth and prevents cavities is interesting, and shows how fluoride is safe, because it does this through working with your mouth’s natural demineralization and remineralization processes.
Demineralization refers to when the bacteria in your mouth feeds on carbohydrates and sugar, which ends up weakening your tooth enamel – demineralizing it. Remineralization refers to when the calcium and phosphate ions that strengthen your enamel are replenished, which makes it so that your teeth are more protected, and less prone to decay.
Fluoride works with the demineralization and remineralization processes through protecting your teeth from the damage that demineralization can do to your teeth. It also helps with the replenishment of calcium and phosphate ions during the remineralization process. If your teeth lose too many minerals, this can lead to tooth decay. Fluoride protects your teeth, making it so that acids cannot damage your teeth as easily, which leads to stronger, healthier teeth.
Is Fluoride Safe?
Yes, fluoride is indeed safe, when it is used properly and with appropriate doses. The same as everything else, it is possible for fluoride to become unsafe, when used incorrectly. Generally, fluoride carries the highest risk for children, if they are exposed to too much fluoride over an extended period of time. This can result in a condition called dental fluorosis, which is when children’s teeth become discolored or have white lines or spots on the enamel.
Dental fluorosis typically affects children who have not yet had their permanent teeth come in. There are cases with long-term exposure to excessive levels of fluoride that can result in a condition called skeletal fluorosis, which can also affect adults. Skeletal fluorosis is when your bones are affected.
However, these conditions are rare, and avoidable through using fluoride in the recommended dosages and ways. Fluoride is very safe, it is simply the same as anything else – too much water can make you sick, but that doesn’t mean that water is bad for you. The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that fluoride is safe and that there is no evidence that fluoride causes adverse health effects when used correctly.
Additionally, the American Dental Association (ADA) shows that there are over 125 organizations world-wide that recognize the safety, legitimacy, and benefits of fluoride for your oral health, including the World Health Organization. Is fluoride safe? Yes. When used correctly, it very much is, and is in fact an important part of maintaining good oral health!
How To Get The Benefits Of Fluoride
Now that we’ve established how fluoride is safe, there are several things that you can do in order to ensure that you are getting those vital benefits fluoride provides, with stronger teeth and lessened tooth decay. You can get the benefits of fluoride through fluoride treatments from the dentist, through fluoride toothpastes and mouthwashes, through fluoride in your water, through fluoride supplements, and more.
Mountain View Dental can help you ensure that you are both using fluoride correctly and that you are getting enough in order to maintain strong, healthy teeth. We offer professional fluoride treatments designed to improve your dental health, and are more than happy to advise you on the best way for you, personally, to use fluoride. Contact us today, and let’s get your mouth at healthy as can be!