When you hear the word fluoride, what comes to your mind? Chemical, poisonous, toxic, dangerous and carcinogenic are words that are commonly linked to fluoride. On the other hand, some people say that fluoride actually benefits us. So, the question we will be looking at today is: is fluoride a boon or a bane?
Say Goodbye To Tooth Decay
First of all, fluoride has the ability to prevent and even reverse tooth decay by inhibiting bacteria that produce acid in the mouth and by enhancing remineralization – the process by which tooth enamel is rebuilt after it begins to decay.
Myth #1: Fluoride Is Linked To Lower IQ In Children
Recent studies conducted in China, Mexico and India have raised questions about the potential effects of high levels of fluoride on intelligence and behaviour. However, these studies were poorly designed, gathered unreliable data and were
not peer-reviewed by independent scientists. Researchers who evaluated these studies also pointed out that the lower IQs could be traced to other factors, such as arsenic exposure, the burning of high-fluoride coal inside homes and the eating of contaminated grain.
Myth #2: Fluoride Causes Cancer
According to generally accepted scientific knowledge, there is no association between cancer rates in humans and optimal levels of fluoride in drinking water. Since community water fluoridation was introduced in 1945, more than 50 epidemiologic studies in different populations and at different times have failed to demonstrate a link between fluoridation and the risk of cancer.
A 2011 study in the Journal of Dental Research also found no significant association between bone fluoride levels and osteosarcoma, a rare, primary malignant bone tumor that is more prevalent in males. The case-control study was led by the Harvard University School of Dental Medicine and approved by the National Cancer Institute whereby fluoride concentration was measured in samples of normal bone that were adjacent to a person’s tumour. Because fluoride naturally accumulates in bone, this method provides a more accurate measure of cumulative fluoride exposure than relying on the memory of study participants or municipal water treatment records.
Myth #3:Fluoride In Drinking Water Is Unnatural
Fluoride is already present naturally in most water bodies, including oceans. Additionally, most fluoride, like phosphoric acid used in Coke and Pepsi that we drink, is extracted from phosphate rock, and is not chemically made.
Myth #4: Fluoride Is Not Safe For Babies & Young Children
It is completely safe for babies and young children to ingest fluoride, though there may be an increased risk of the child developing dental fluorosis. Dental fluorosis, however, is not harmful to the teeth, nor does it cause pain. In most cases, it is simply faint, white streaks on teeth, so subtle that they are not visible to most people.
With all these myths being debunked, we can conclude that fluoride is a boon. Not only do none of the myths hold true, fluoride also helps us maintain strong, healthy teeth. That being said, you do still need to brush and floss your teeth diligently. Also, do visit our dentists at Greenlife Dental Clinics for your biannual dental checkup to keep your teeth in good condition!