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Fluoride – Myths and Facts

When you think about your toothpaste, you probably don’t think about what it actually contains. Toothpaste is full of a range of different ingredients and additives that are specifically formulated to keep your teeth in top condition. One of these ingredients, and probably the most well known, is a mineral called fluoride. 

Fluoride is a mineral found in nature – in natural water, fish, even beer. It is commonly found in toothpaste, mouthwashes and other tooth treatments because it’s been proven to drastically reduce tooth decay. In fact, The World Health Organization and Public Health England have even endorsed fluoride, confirming that it improves overall oral health, particularly in children. 

However, there are a number of myths that have been circulating for years about fluoride that often make people concerned for their health whilst using fluoride-containing products. Let’s have a look at what some of these rumours are, and see whether these are in fact true!

Fluoride is bad for you – especially for children!

One of the biggest and most terrifying myths is that fluoride is dangerous to your health and particularly damaging to children. There have been a number of myths about how exactly fluoride negatively affects the health of children over the years, but in actual fact, fluoride is a very safe substance that has many health benefits.

Some of these benefits include making your natural teeth enamel tougher (particularly in children as their adult teeth grow), making your teeth more decay-resistant and preventing damage caused by sugar consumption to the teeth. The NHS recommends that children use a toothpaste containing at least 1,000ppm fluoride for the best tooth protection and it’s believed that children are 15% less likely to have bad tooth decay with the use of fluoride tooth products. 

Fluoride is unnatural!

Fluoride, despite its name sounding somewhat artificial, is an all naturally occurring mineral present in many different places. Fluorides sources are vast, including natural water, potatoes, grapes, tea and coffee and shellfish. It’s largest and most common source is water – both saltwater and freshwater, meaning it’s present in lakes, rivers and the ocean. 

Fluoride has nasty side effects!

Hip fractures, kidney stones, Down’s Syndrome, cancer… These are all conditions popularly believed to be caused by fluoride. But it’s been proven by many health boards, including the Water Fluoridation Health Monitor for England that there is no evidence to support any negative side effects caused by fluoride when used properly.

One true risk is something called fluorosis, which are little white spots on the teeth, or larger brown patches appearing in severe cases. This is caused by too much fluoride – for example, swallowing your toothpaste! It is completely reversible and doesn’t harm your wellbeing, so the risk of fluorosis is well worth taking when you weigh up the benefits of this miracle mineral.

Fluoride is an amazing mineral that has many oral health benefits and uses, for both adults and children alike. If you are concerned about the use of fluoride, then speak to your dentist today at your local Oradent Dental Care practice, where we would be happy to discuss the use of fluoride and ease any concerns you may have!

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