Did you get a fluoride treatment the last time you were at the dentist? Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in water and food, and it has been shown to improve bone density and protect the teeth from decay. When Grand Rapids, Michigan became the first city to add fluoride to its water supply, they found that children there suffered fewer cavities than children in surrounding communities. Since then, nearly every city in the U.S. started fluoridating their water supplies, leading to healthier teeth for millions.
As far as the medical community is concerned, treating the teeth with fluoride carries a number of benefits with minimal risks. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation going around about fluoride and this has discouraged some people from getting treated. At ZDental, our goal is to ensure every one of our patients has healthy teeth and gums; that’s why we wanted to take some time to dispel some common myths about fluoride.
Does Fluoride Cause Fluorosis?
Fluorosis is a cosmetic condition characterized by streaking or discoloration of the teeth and it is caused by overconsumption of fluoride, especially during the first 8 years of a person’s life. While this is a very real condition, it is purely cosmetic and is unlikely to be caused by the concentrations of fluoride found in drinking water supplies and dental treatments. If you have a child 8 or younger, be sure to discuss the pros and cons of fluoride treatments with your dentist so you can decide together whether they are appropriate at that age.
Does Fluoride Cause Cancer?
While the medical community considers fluoride treatments to be safe, some people have asserted that it can cause cancers like osteosarcoma. In reality, a number of studies have been performed on this topic, and most have found no strong causal link between fluoride exposure and cancer. It is also important to note that osteosarcoma is an extremely rare form of cancer that affects only about 400 children each year, so it’s reasonable to conclude that the cancer risk of consuming fluoridated water and getting fluoride treatments is minimal.
Does Fluoride Cause Autism?
While some groups have asserted that consuming fluoride increases the risk of developing autism, very little actual research has been done in this area. Currently, no evidence exists to prove a link between increased fluoride use and increased incidence of autism.
Can Fluoride be Used to Pacify People or Control Their Minds?
There are rumors going back decades that claim fluoridation of water supplies was actually a plot to make populations more compliant or otherwise control their minds or actions. In reality, there has been minimal study performed in this area, and because it can be difficult to conduct research on the scale necessary to prove these claims, it is reasonable to doubt the results of any studies that claim fluoride affects the human brain. Currently, there is no strong evidence to suggest that fluoride has any psychotropic properties or that it can be used for mind control.
Are Fluoride Treatments Dangerous?
As far as the greater medical community is concerned, the benefits of fluoridated water and fluoride treatments far outweigh any potential risks, which are rare and minor. While it’s always reasonable to study the safety of any products we consume, more research would be needed to prove a causal link between fluoride exposure and any of the conditions listed above, other than fluorosis. According to the FDA, fluoride treatments, fluoridated water, and fluoride toothpaste are all perfectly safe and beneficial for people over the age of 8. If you’re concerned about the safety of fluoride, we encourage you to discuss the matter with your dentist.
If you’re a resident of New Jersey or the Philadelphia area, ZDental has 5 different locations for your convenience. Visit our contact page to find the location nearest you and give us a call if you’re interested in fluoride treatments, regular dental checkups, or anything else you need to keep your teeth and gums healthy!