Is fluoride really that good for you?
Some of our patients come in and ask us if fluoride is good for us as they have heard the myths that fluoride isn't natural, it doesn't prevent tooth decay and can cause a range of medical problems.
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) advise:
"NHMRC strongly recommends community water fluoridation as a safe, effective and ethical way to help reduce tooth decay across the population"
We want to bust those common myths about fluoride:
1. "Fluoride isn't natural" - MYTH
Fluoride is a naturally occurring substance found in rocks that leaches into groundwater and also found in surface water. Fluoride is found in all natural water supplies at some concentration.
2. "Fluoridated water doesn't work" - MYTH
Evidence for water fluoridation dates all the way back to the 1940s, where researches noticed lower levels of tooth decay in areas where naturally occurring fluoride was found in the water supply. Since then we have seen a lot of research being conducted in this area, and consistently we see lower levels of tooth decay associated with water fluoridation.
In Australia, NHMRC found that children and teenagers who had lived in areas with water fluoridation had 26-44% fewer teeth affected by decay and adults had 27% less tooth decay.
3. "Fluoridated water causes cancer and other health problems" - MYTH
The NHMRC found there was reliable evidence to suggest fluoridation at the current levels in Australia is NOT associated with cancer, Down Syndrome, cognitive problems, lowered intelligence, hip fracture, chronic kidney disease, kidney stones, hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, low birth weight, premature death from any cause, musculo-skeletal pain, osteoporosis, thyroid problems or other self-reported complaints.
Fluoride at Gentle Care Dentistry
At Gentle Care Dentistry, we use a topical fluoride after your scale and clean. The topical fluoride we use is a more concentrated dose than found in your normal toothpastes. We apply it for 1 minute and ask that you do not eat, rinse or wash your mouth out for 30 minutes following. This fluoride is an added protection to your teeth and helps to prevent tooth decay.
We have a wide range of flavours at our clinic, so please let us know which one is your favourite!
Adding fluoride to tap water in Australia to prevent tooth decay is one of our greatest public health achievements, and evidence gathered over more than 60 years shows it works and is safe.
If you do have any concerns, feel free to ask your dentist at your next checkup