5 Facts You Need to Know About Fluoride

All About Teeth and Fluoride

All About Teeth and Fluoride

A lie travels halfway around the world before the truth gets its shoes on. This old wisdom is truer today than it ever was thanks to the speed that misinformation spreads in the internet age. Untruths and distortions exist for pretty much any area that you can think of, but one area that has attracted more than its fair share of alternative facts is fluoride.

So let’s take a look at five quick facts that counter the myths surrounding fluoride.

Fact #1 Fluoride Is a Natural Substance

While you may know that fluoride is an ingredient in toothpaste, you might not know that it’s a natural mineral found in many foods and water sources. In the same way that calcium and magnesium find their way into soil and water, fluoride dissolves and enters groundwater. 

Where groundwater doesn’t have enough fluoride for optimum dental protection authorities use fluoride obtained from natural calcium deposits in phosphate rock to boost the levels.

Fact #2 Fluoride is Added to Municipal Drinking Water

The majority of towns and cities in the United States add fluoride to drinking water supplies. This public health measure ensures that people can benefit from levels of fluoride known to help prevent tooth decay. It’s a cost effective solution that has improved the nation's dental health and for most cities every $1 spent on fluoridation results in a $38 saving in dental treatment costs. 

What about bottled water? Since fluoride offers the most protection during childhood, parents should know about fluoride and bottled water. Small amounts of fluoride are naturally present in most water sources, but this isn’t usually at a high enough concentration to offer protection. Bottled water with added fluoride will clearly state this on the label, so when you buy bottled water check to make sure the brand you buy contains fluoride.

Learn more at I Like My Teeth.

Fact #3 Experts Agree - Fluoride Strengthens Teeth

All health authorities agree that fluoride strengthens teeth and helps to prevent tooth decay. The World Health Organization recommends water fluoridation, as does the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, the American Dental Association, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Surgeon General and many more. 

Fact #4 Getting Enough Fluoride In Childhood Strengthens Teeth Over a Lifetime 

Fluoride helps to strengthen children’s growing teeth, and research has confirmed that children benefiting from fluoride in their early years have a lower risk of losing teeth due to decay 40 or 50 years later. 

Fact #5 Communities with Fluoridated Water Have Lower Rates of Tooth Decay

Some communities don’t have access to fluoridated water and when dental health is compared between fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities, the results show that rates of tooth decay are higher in the non-fluoridated communities.

The District of Columbia enjoys 100% water fluoridation closely followed by Kentucky with 99.9% and Illinois with 99.3%. Hawaii sits at the bottom of the league, with just 10.8% of its community water supplies benefiting from fluoride (2010 figures).

As you can see fluoride is natural and safe and it’s been used for decades without any harmful effects. Let’s end by putting one of the most widely propagated myths about fluoride to bed. Opponents of fluoride claim that fluoride reduces IQ, but data shows that during the time that fluoride has been in use IQ levels have actually risen. The internet is great at spreading lies, but it’s really great for exposing them too.

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