The internet is a great thing, but unfortunately, there’s a lot of bad information out there. Bad information hoodwinks good people who are looking to help their kids, and unfortunately, bad information includes myths about fluoride. Here’s what’s true: studies over decades have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that fluoride is excellent for strengthening teeth and keeping them healthy.
When it comes to keeping teeth healthy, especially for young children, fluoride is one of the best elements to keeping teeth strong and healthy from a young age.
Everything in life has risks, and when it comes to fluoride, there are risks. The biggest risk comes from ingesting too much of it. But the reality is if you were to ingest excessive fluoride, you would be having problems due to ingesting too much water and toothpaste. There are some signs to look at; for example, fluorosis is white spots on the teeth. Folks who have too much fluoride in their system also suffer from gastrointestinal distress.
That being said, when you get regular fluoride treatments from your dentist along with fluoridated drinking water, you will be healthier with your teeth than those who don’t. Some fluorides aren’t for consumption, like what’s used at the dentist, but the fluoride in tap water is completely safe – just like table salt.
So, now that we have established that fluoride is safe and effective for keeping your teeth healthy, it is also important to understand what fluoride does. The reality is tooth enamel is extremely strong, and that’s why it is hard to break down teeth. However, just because the enamel is strong doesn’t mean enamel is solid. Tooth enamel is porous and soaks up fluoride. Children especially have porous teeth, and the fact that teeth are porous is quite helpful.
To understand how fluoride works, you must understand how bacteria work. The bacteria in your mouth secrete acid, and that acid creates tiny little holes in teeth. Enamel is eroded, and unless you use fluoride, you’re stuck with these microholes getting larger and larger.
Fluoride works on a process called remineralization. It doesn’t reverse the big cavities, but it essentially creates stronger teeth and keeps your teeth strong against this erosion.