Dental cleanings are more than just a quick removal of plaque. They also give your dentist the opportunity to administer a fluoride treatment. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps reduce the risk of tooth decay, but unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about fluoride.
Here, our expert team at The Masters Dental Group in San Antonio, Texas, shed light on fluoride and separate fact from fiction.
Fact: One of the most prevalent myths regarding fluoride is that it causes harmful health conditions, such as cancer, arthritis, and diabetes. However, the American Cancer Society has reviewed numerous studies 一 including several systemic studies over the past 25 years 一 and has determined that fluoride isn’t known to cause cancer.
Both the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Institute of Medicine regard fluoridated water and topical fluoride as safe in the appropriate amounts.
Where do these myths originate? Too much fluoride can contribute to skeletal fluorosis and discolored teeth. Remember, though, that nearly any substance can be harmful if you consume more than the recommended amount. This is even true of vitamins and minerals like potassium and vitamin E.
The Environmental Protection Agency regulates the amount of fluoride added into drinking water at no more than 4 milligrams per liter. Likewise, your provider at The Masters Dental Group prescribes safe amounts of fluoride, whether that’s in your routine fluoride treatment or in a medicated mouthwash.
Fact: Children do need fluoride because it’s a great defense against cavities. Drinking fluoridated water, using toothpaste with fluoride, and receiving regular fluoride treatments during routine cleanings help to strengthen your child’s tooth enamel. This helps reduce the risk of decay.
As long as your child consumes the recommended amount of fluoride, it’s beneficial. You can prevent your child from consuming too much fluoride by monitoring their toothbrushing sessions and putting their toothpaste on their brush for them.
Children under age 6 only need a pea-size dollop of toothpaste, while babies and toddlers only need a smear — about the size of a grain of rice.
Fact: Fluoridation is considered a great public health achievement, and many countries around the globe have added fluoride to their water because of its benefits. Ireland, the United Kingdom, Poland, Serbia, and Spain are just a few examples. Germany, France, Switzerland, and Austria employ a different method 一 called salt fluoridation 一 to deliver fluoride to people.
Fact: Fluoride is a natural nutrient and not a synthetic medication. Although it can be added to prescription mouthwashes, remember that fluoride is a naturally occurring compound made of fluoride and a salt. This mineral is released in the air, soil, and rocks, and it occurs naturally in water.
Fluoride helps strengthen your enamel, which makes it more difficult for bacteria to cause dental caries or cavities. You can receive fluoride in many ways:
Here at The Masters Dental Group, we offer fluoride treatments during your routine cleaning. Fluoride treatments come in many forms, including concentrated foam, gel, and rinses.
If needed, our team may recommend a mouthwash or paste with higher concentrations of fluoride if you’re at high risk of decay. We’re more than happy to help you decide which fluoride treatment makes sense for you.
Are you ready to schedule your next routine cleaning? You can reach The Masters Dental Group by calling 210-349-4424 to make an appointment today.