Myths and Facts About Fluoride and Our Teeth

child smilingFluoride is a mineral that is found naturally in food, soil, and water. Direct contact between fluoride and teeth remineralizes weak enamel. However, many people debate the advantages and disadvantages of fluoride, particularly fluoride treatments for children. Dr. Erika Peddicord wants to dispel a few common myths about fluoride. At Peddicord Family Dentistry, patients of all ages will experience expert, compassionate dental care for a wide range of preventive, restorative, and cosmetic dental services.

Myth: Fluoride is already in most tap water—so why ingest more?

Answer: Many communities do opt to add fluoride to the water supply so that it can help prevent cavities, tooth decay, and the pain associated with tooth decay. This practice is known as community water fluoridation and began in the 1940’s. Because tooth decay has significantly decreased over the past 60 years, the Centers for Disease Control has declared water fluoridation one of the Ten Great Public Health Interventions of the 20th Century. Dr. Peddicord will ask about your home’s water supply to determine if a child is drinking fluoridated water before deciding if fluoride treatments are right for him or her. Because fluoride is most beneficial for developing teeth, Dr. Peddicord recommends the use of ingested fluoride treatments only for children, not adults.

Myth: Fluoride will cause yellow teeth.

Answer: Dental fluorosis refers to a change in color of the enamel, the top layer of the tooth. These changes vary from white spots, the most common symptom, to yellow or brownish staining. Dental fluorosis arises when children ingest too much fluoride over long periods of time while teeth are developing. Dr. Peddicord will ask you about your child’s water supply to determine how much fluoride she is consuming.  Our doctor will then select a safe fluoride treatment schedule that prevents over-fluoridation. Dr. Peddicord also advises parents that children under three years of age should use unfluoridated toothpaste because they may swallow it.

Myth: Fluoride is a poison.

Answer: Most substances can be harmful when consumed in excess. That is why Dr. Peddicord recommends that parents supervise their children’s use of fluoride toothpaste. Children sometimes ingest toothpaste because they are attracted to its pleasant, minty taste. But the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry does not recommend avoiding fluoride altogether. Long-term studies have shown that fluoride successfully prevents cavities and tooth decay.

About Peddicord Family Dentistry

Dr. Erika Peddicord of Peddicord Family Dentistry draws upon her impressive education and training to give her young patients a head start on a lifetime of excellent oral health. She treats patients of all ages from Bondurant, Polk City, Elkhart, Alleman, and Cambridge, and neighboring areas. Patients can schedule an appointment with Dr. Peddicord by calling (515) 963-3339.