Did you know that only 75% of Canadians visit the dentist annually?
Keeping your teeth healthy can be tough, especially when there’s so much conflicting information out there and a wealth of products. From whether you should use teeth whitening toothpaste to what kind of mouthwash you need, it can be very confusing!
But, without a doubt, the tooth topic with the most myths is fluoride. There’s so much information out there about this common tooth care ingredient that people don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong!
To help bust the myths and clear up the mystery of fluoride once and for all, we have a top Mississauga dentist here to answer your questions.
What Exactly Is Fluoride?
Let’s start with the basics: what is fluoride?
Fluoride is actually a naturally occurring mineral that’s already found in your body as well as other places on our planet. You can spot fluoride in bones and teeth, as well as rocks, soil, water, and even the air we breathe! It’s also used very often in dentistry to help strengthen your tooth enamel (the outer layer of your teeth) so that you can avoid cavities and other problems.
In Canada, as well as many other countries, fluoride is also added to drinking water. This is done to give your body an extra dose of this vital mineral and help keep your teeth and bones strong!
How Was It Discovered?
Fluoride was discovered in the early 1900s in a bizarre event that happened in Colorado Springs. People started noting that children in the area were developing some pretty nasty brown stains on their teeth, which caught the attention of dentists. When they studied the event further, they found that the children with the stains were surprisingly resistant to cavities, which was very perplexing!
When their water source was changed, the brown stains stopped forming and dentists realized that it was something in the water that was stopping the cavities. After further examination, they discovered that fluoride was the cause! This led to the discovery of how the naturally occurring mineral helps strengthen our teeth and bones.
From then on, it’s become a common ingredient in dental care products, such as toothpaste and mouthwash, and is recommended by dentists worldwide.
Common Fluoride Myths
Despite its benefits, there’s still a lot of controversy surrounding this natural mineral. To help clear things up here’s some fact vs fiction straight from a professional dentist.
Myth 1 – Fluorinated Water Gives People Fluorosis
Fluorosis is the staining of the teeth that we just spoke about. As mentioned earlier, in Canada we add fluoride to the water so why don’t we get these nasty stains too? The answer is simple: we don’t consume enough.
The levels of fluoride in the water are much lower than they were in Colorado Springs, and it would take very high levels to cause staining. Dentists and scientists worked together to work out how much to put in Canada’s water to protect teeth without staining, ensuring our teeth are safe.
Myth 2 – Fluoride is Dangerous for Children
A lot of parents are starting to cut fluoride out of their children’s teeth routine because they think it’s dangerous, but this is a very bad idea! Fluoride is a brilliant way to help your little one’s teeth become strong, and it’s not dangerous when used normally.
Myth 3 – Fluoride Causes Cancer
There have been over 50 large studies into the link between fluoride in water and cancer cases. Some studies, for example, compared the levels of cancer in communities before and after fluoride was introduced into the water. Amongst these studies, no strong link between fluoride and cancer has been found.
While the studies have a lot of uncontrollable factors that can affect the results, such a wide breadth of research should give people the peace of mind they need. If the science isn’t finding a link, we can all sleep easy knowing our drinking water is safe!
Myth 4 – Children Shouldn’t Use Fluoride
This is definitely a myth! There was a time when dentists recommended children should only brush their teeth with water, but this has long since been disproved. Instead, use a tiny amount of toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice) for little ones under 3 years old to help keep their teeth strong and prevent future decay or tooth loss.
Should I Get Fluoride Treatments?
The takeaway from these myths should be that fluoride in toothpaste and water is entirely safe in the US because it’s at such low levels. Too much fluoride could start to have side effects and cause some negative issues, but at the levels that Americans are currently having it really shouldn’t. In fact, it’s going to do much more good than it will do harm – and that’s coming from a dentist!
If you’re wondering whether you should get a professional fluoride treatment, there’s no harm in it. This treatment is a gel, mouthwash, foam, or varnish that contains a higher level of fluoride, giving your teeth a big boost. It’s brilliant for helping prevent cavities and can even be done on children, helping to keep their teeth strong for years to come!
If you’re looking for fluoride treatments, search for dentists near me to find a professional close to you who can apply your treatment, or opt for our dentist in Mississauga.
Book in With Our Mississauga Dentist
Our Mississauga dentist, Smile by Design Dental, is a professional, trusted dental care establishment. For anything related to dental care, from fluoride facts to cavity protection, we’re the team you need! If you’re looking for a fluoride treatment or need a dentist to help look after your teeth, be sure to book in for an appointment with us today.