Fluoride has been one of those topics of debate in the past decade. A number of people have experienced growing concerns about whether fluoride is dangerous, and whether or not it should be added to the water.
Our pediatric dentists are here to set the record straight. Fluoride has a ton of benefits, and it’s not as scary as people make it out to be. Learn more from Treasured Teeth, and set up your child’s appointment for a dental cleaning or general visit with our office!
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral that’s found in many foods and water. Some of this occurs naturally (just as salt is a mineral and is naturally occurring in foods), and in some instances, fluoride is added as an ingredient.
Why do we add fluoride to water?
WebMD does a good job explaining this: “Every day, minerals are added to and lost from a tooth’s enamel layer through two processes, demineralization and remineralization.” When we eat things that are high in sugar, this can lead to a buildup of plaque, which demineralizes the structure of our teeth, leaving them weakened and susceptible to infection or decay.
When we consume things with fluoride and calcium (another important mineral), we’re remineralizing our teeth, making them stronger. Especially for children, tooth decay can lead to lasting problems — fluoride is a natural and relatively safe way to protect the teeth.
Does every city add fluoride to their water?
Water fluoridation (the process of adding fluoride to water) has been considered one of the greatest technological and medical developments of the 20th century, as reported by the CDC. Our pediatric dentists would have to agree. While most people in the United States have access to fluoridated water, one-quarter of the country does not. This puts an alarmingly high 81 million people at risk for tooth decay that could otherwise be prevented.
We talked about this in our last blog, but it’s important to find out if your water supply has fluoride. If not, there are other ways you can help expose your children to this essential mineral. But if you’re in a city near Denver like Thornton or Reunion, chances are that your water is fluoridated — about 72 percent of Coloradoans have fluoride-treated water.
Is there any danger to fluoride?
Like any mineral, too much can be a bad thing. Children, in particular, should not be exposed to too much fluoride, especially when they’re very young. There was also a 2017 study that posited a correlation between high fluoride levels for pregnant mothers and lower IQs for their babies as a result.
That being said, the danger to fluoride only comes from excess. Most people never need to worry about getting too much fluoride, and your child’s pediatrician or pediatric dentist will happily give you more information if you’re worried that your child is at risk.
Fluoride provides dental healthcare in a way that most families in the US could otherwise not afford. We are grateful for this medical advancement, and see the benefits firsthand as pediatric dentists. But if you have any remaining questions, we’re more than happy to give you more information! Call us to set up an appointment today.