by Dr. Christine Coughlin DDS
Is Fluoride bad for you?
You’re probably confused by all the conflicting information out there about fluoride.
We’re here to clarify that for you. To help you make an educated decision that is best for you and your family.
Did You Know?
Tooth decay is one of the most prevalent diseases in the world. In the US, 42% of children ages 2-11 have suffered from tooth decay, and about a third of US adults are walking around with untreated cavities in their mouths.
Did you also know that research links decaying and infected teeth and gums with stroke, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, birth problems, and more?
Your enamel (the hard, white outer layer of your teeth) is losing minerals all day long.
This natural process occurs every time you eat or drink anything that contains sugar or starch (which are in everything, even milk!). The bacteria in your mouth feed on them to produce acids, which eat away at your enamel.
In other words, anything you eat or drink that isn’t water can make your teeth vulnerable to tooth decay.
Plus, there are endless environmental factors besides just your diet that put you at risk for cavities all throughout the day. Some of these include: how often you’re snacking, your oral habits (such as teeth grinding, smoking, etc.), your oral hygiene care, how much saliva you’re producing, and your lifestyle and overall health (such as being overweight, diabetes, etc.). It’s no wonder that tooth decay is so prevalent.
But, no need to fret, my friend. There is something you can do to fight against this constant battle with tooth decay.
This is where fluoride comes in.
Fight Tooth decay with the power of fluoride.
It’s pretty amazing what Fluoride does for your teeth.
It’s a mineral (found in your toothpaste or drinking water) that, combined with saliva (which contains calcium and phosphate), fortifies and replaces lost minerals that are daily depleted from your enamel.
Not only does this compound remineralize your teeth, but it also changes the composition of your enamel to be super-resistant to cavity breakdown.
Think of it as armor for your teeth!
Fluoride can even reverse or stop a cavity in the very early stages of tooth decay. How cool is that?!
Is it safe?
Much of the controversy over fluoride is over the safety of it in our drinking water.
Despite the controversy over this famous (or infamous?) mineral, fluoride has been proven to be safe and the most powerful defense against tooth decay when used properly and in the right amounts.
I understand that some people may still be concerned about ingesting fluoride. But the good news is that you can benefit just as well from topical use, such as fluoride toothpaste or fluoride varnish applied by your dentist.
Does Avoiding Fluoride Help or Harm You?
There’s no right or wrong decision. But I can’t tell you how many families I’ve seen come in with rampant cavities after switching to a fluoride-free toothpaste.
You can always try a fluoride-free lifestyle. But be aware that then you stop using fluoride, you’re essentially taking down much of your enamel’s defenses, leaving it more vulnerable to breakdown by its environment’s daily onslaughts.
Unless you live in a perfect world and live a perfectly healthy lifestyle (the average American diet is extremely high in sugar and starch), fluoride may greatly benefit you.
Not to mention, it can potentially save your family thousands of dollars and precious time wasted treating cavities that fluoride could have prevented.
You Can Have Too Much of a Good Thing
Although fluoride is so good for your teeth, you can also have too much of a good thing.
Overexposure to it can cause white spots or fluorosis, a condition that causes discoloration of your teeth.
Go to ncc.cdc.gov to check for proper levels of fluoride in your county’s drinking water.
If you live somewhere that doesn’t have fluoridated tap water, we’ve got you covered.
You can see us every three months for topical fluoride applications to keep your teeth strong and resilient to cavities.
In conclusion, research has shown fluoride to be the most effective way to prevent, stop, and even reverse tooth decay despite the ongoing controversy.
It strengthens and fortifies your enamel, making it more resilient to constant breakdown by its environment.
If you want, you can always try a fluoride-free lifestyle. Just be vigilant and aware that this leaves your enamel more vulnerable to the constant onslaughts from the many environmental factors that break it down all day long.
If you think you are at risk for tooth decay, come in today so we can help you win the fight against cavities!
To learn more about fighting cavities, get my FREE Guide: How to Prevent Cavities in Kids for Life: 10 Easy Steps to empower your family!