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Common Myths and Misconceptions Associated With Fluoride

Fluoride was introduced to the water sources of many towns and cities over 70 years ago, and since then, there have been several myths about the potential dangers of this naturally-occurring mineral. But do not let any of the common misconceptions that you’ve heard about fluoride keep you from enjoying its many dental benefits. Here is the truth about some of the common myths associated with fluoride.

Do I Need Fluoride Toothpaste If I Drink Tap Water?

If you live in a municipality that fluoridates its water supply, you might assume that the levels of fluoride are enough to protect your teeth. You might even skip brushing your teeth now and then. Unfortunately, the levels of fluoride found in most municipal water supplies are not enough to provide your teeth with the protection they need from plaque, tartar, and gum disease.

Always brush your teeth at least twice a day with a product recommended by your dentist. Additionally, if your water is not fluoridated, your dentist might recommend giving your children a supplementary fluoride treatment. Many school districts also have fluoride programs that help make sure your child receives the fluoride they need. If you’re not sure whether this is available in your area, call your local school district for further information.

Are Fluoride Products Dangerous for My Kidneys?

Another common myth that you might have heard about fluoride is that it is harmful to your kidneys. Many people believe that your kidneys are not equipped to handle the levels of fluoride that are in the water and common dental hygiene products and that it will eventually lead to kidney damage, or even failure. Fortunately, a normal, healthy individual’s kidneys are strong enough to handle the fluoride in the tap water and normal dental hygiene products.

Does Fluoride Cause Cancer and Thyroid Issues?

Many people shy away from fluoride because they have read or been told that it causes a number of health issues, including cancer, thyroid problems, and even autism. Over the last few decades, a very small number of medical journals even published articles stating there was a correlation between the exposure to fluoride and the development of cancer, thyroid issues, or autism.

However, after years of additional research and several articles published in reputable medical journals, these claims have been deemed unfounded. If you are still concerned about any negative health effects of fluoride, don’t hesitate to ask your dentist for further information.

Is Fluoride Dangerous for Children?

While chatting with other parents on the playground or at a school function another parent might have mentioned to you that giving your children fluoridated municipal water and encouraging them to brush their teeth with a fluoridated toothpaste is dangerous. But the idea that fluoride is dangerous to children is just another common myth that can be detrimental to your child’s oral hygiene, both now and in the future.

Introducing fluoridated products to your child in the early years has two positive effects: fluoride strengthens your children’s teeth and prevents tooth decay caused by bacteria, acids, and sugars. Fluoride can also help reverse mild tooth decay if it is used on a regular basis.

Many parents also avoid providing their young children with fluoridated products or don’t encourage their children to follow a strict dental hygiene routine, because their primary teeth will fall out in the future anyway. In reality, keeping your child’s primary teeth healthy and strong makes sure that their permanent teeth and gums are healthy for their rest of their lives.

Your child’s primary teeth act as a placeholder for their permanent teeth and are necessary for your child’s speech development. Strong oral health will also make sure that your child is getting the necessary nutrients required to grow healthy and strong.

What about babies?

If you have an infant who is bottle fed, ask your dentist about using fluoridated water to reconstitute powdered formula. Several types of powdered formula are manufactured with small amounts of fluoride and mixing them with fluoridated water can lead to small white spots on your infant’s teeth, a condition called fluorosis.

Fluorosis is a cosmetic issue that occurs when your child is overexposed to fluoride while their teeth are forming. Typically, a child will develop fluorosis before eight years of age. The condition is not painful and it will not negatively impact the development of your child’s teeth. In the most severe cases, fluorosis will cause pitting and brown spots.

As you can see, many people don’t realize how much fluoride can benefit your health and the health of your children. Make sure you do your own research instead of believing the things you hear from friends and family members. And if you have any further questions about fluoride, don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at Dr. Jerry F. Maymi & Associates.