Three Big Myths About Fluoride Debunked

decay_prevention_3 South Bend, IN | Tulip Tree Dental Care

For a long time now, fluoride has been used to make your teeth stronger and healthier. It’s in tap water and toothpaste, and you can get fluoride treatments at our South Bend, IN dental office.

Unfortunately, there are some people who think fluoride is harmful. They make websites, YouTube videos, and ebooks explaining the evils of this mineral. That’s why you need to call us today at 574-208-5668 and make an appointment for dental cleanings and dental exams that include fluoride treatments. Dr. Hurcomb has the expertise and training to separate dental myths from facts.

Why There Are So Many Myths

You’ve probably heard about “fake news” these days. It’s nothing new, although there seems to be more of it lately thanks to the internet. Just about anyone can call themselves an “expert” and start talking about non-existent problems — and sell non-existent solutions.

That’s a big reason why fluoride has some stubborn myths. Some folks mean well and just misunderstand dental research and studies. Others are selling books or making money from advertisements on their sites. Either way, here’s the big truth about fluoride.

How Fluoride Helps Your Dental Health

Fluoride is used in drinking water, toothpaste, and dental treatments for one simple reason: It works. If it didn’t, dentists wouldn’t offer it.

Here are several ways fluoride helps your teeth.

  • Fluoride reverses tiny amounts of damage to your enamel.
  • Fluoride strengthens enamel so it can better resist damage like tooth decay.
  • Fluoride helps children grow stronger adult teeth.

To put it bluntly, fluoride treatments at our South Bend, IN dental office are not just safe for you. They protect your teeth.

Debunking Three Big Fluoride Myths

There are many unsubstantiated stories out there about fluoride, but here are three stubborn myths that really need debunking.

MYTH – Fluoride is a harmful chemical that doesn’t belong in water.
FACT – Fluoride is a mineral found in water naturally.

Much like iodine or potassium, fluoride is a mineral. It’s not a “chemical” unless you count that everything can be boiled down to chemistry. In fact, fluoride occurs naturally in drinking water. That’s how people first discovered fluoride’s beneficial effects. People drinking water with fluoride in it had much better teeth than people drinking water without it.

That’s why fluoride is added to tap water in many communities. It’s safe, and much like adding iodine to salt or vitamin D to milk, it’s a quick and cheap way to help everyone in the community have better health.

MYTH – Fluoride is used in rat poison, proving it’s dangerous.
FACT – The fluoride compound in question is very different from what dentists use.

Have you ever cleaned a pool? Have you ever cooked with salt? Then you know how one element can become very different depending on what it’s connected to. Chlorine kills bacteria, which is why it’s used to clean pools. Sodium chloride is table salt. The two sound similar, and both have chlorine in it. But the difference between the two is the difference between poisonous and healthy.

Most of the fluoride used to help your teeth is called sodium fluoride (NaF). Rat poison often uses a different compound called sodium fluoroacetate (FCH2CONa). Yes, both have fluoride in it. But look at how NaF differs from FCH2CONa. You don’t have to understand chemistry to get there’s a huge difference between the two.

MYTH – Fluoride makes you docile and less intelligent.
FACT – Very high doses of fluoride can hurt you, but that’s not what you get in the US.

Some people proclaim that a Harvard study proved fluoride is not just poisonous but that it lowers our IQ. However, the truth is much more complicated than that.

One Harvard study looked at a bunch of over studies to say fluoride is linked to lower IQ scores. There are two problems with this connection:

  • First, most of these studies were done in China and did not say there was a connection between fluoride and IQ.
  • Second, these studies examined the effects of mega-doses of fluoride. In the US, tap water can have between 0.7 and 1.2 milligrams per liter of water. In those studies, researchers used anywhere from 1.8 and 7.0 milligrams per liter. That can be 10 times higher than what you drink at home!

Call us TODAY at 574-208-5668 or make an appointment online for fluoride treatments at our South Bend, IN dental office. Dr. Hurcomb is highly trained and understands how fluoride works. With dental cleanings and dental exams, you can help your teeth stay healthy and strong.

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