According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the fluoridation of drinking water is ranked among the ten greatest public health achievements of 20th century America. However, a quick search of the internet tells us that fluoride is actually toxic if ingested in large enough quantities. So which is it? Do the health benefits outweigh the negatives of fluoride in toothpaste and drinking water? We at Springhill Dental Health Center know that Mobile folks care a great deal about their health, so we’ve put this article together to examine the facts and help you come to your own decision. As always, we are happy to answer any questions you might have, so feel free to give us a call!
In order to understand the controversy, we must first to understand what led to putting fluoride in toothpaste and water. Even today, dental caries (tooth decay) is considered the most prevalent chronic disease in children and adults. With that in mind, it’s not hard to understand why Grand Rapids, Michigan took a leap in 1945, becoming the first city in the world to fluoridate its drinking water supply. The hope was that fluoridation would dramatically reduce the amount of tooth decay in children. After 11 years, the National Institute for Dental Research validated that hope, announcing that fluoridation had coincided with a 60% drop in the rates of tooth decay. Fast forward to 2000 and roughly half of the country’s water supply is fluoridated.
Fluoride aids in the protection of teeth by preventing decay in two ways:
As Mark Twain is famous for saying, “too much of anything is bad…” That is certainly true for fluoride. Too much fluoride can cause dental fluorosis, a condition that permanently stains and pits the enamel of the teeth. More serious complications, such as skeletal fluorosis, can occur as well. In extremely high doses, fluoride can even cause death. The important thing to know is that fluoride’s popularity has led to its inclusion in more than just water and toothpaste – namely juice, soda, food, and pesticides.
As long as fluoride doesn’t exceed the EPA regulated 4mg/L, research suggests that the benefits outweigh the potential complications. The trick is monitoring your fluoride intake from all sources, not just water and toothpaste. However, there are plenty of anti-fluoride activists that advocate for removing fluoride from all sources.
Like most other dentists, Dr. Scott recommends that Mobile residents use fluoride toothpaste, but reminds us to rinse thoroughly. If you have any questions about fluoride or would like to chat about anything dental, don’t hesitate to give Springhill Dental Health Center a call!
My visit was incredible. I had my “All on Four” appliances cleaned, and it was a painless and thorough experience. Dr. Scott and all his staff are very friendly. During the cleaning, Mary was gentle and let me know everything she was doing and how it would feel. She gave me tips on how to clean my implants/appliances better and gave me a small brush to do the underside more effectively. Dr. Scott and Mary suggest cleanings take place every 3 months so I will be back in December.
Dr. Byron Scott is a highly-trained and accomplished dentist. He attended The University of Alabama School of Dentistry and subsequently completed numerous Advanced Studies and Trainings. Dr. Scott is Board-Certified by The Academy of General Dentistry and has earned Mastership status (MAGD), an honor shared by only 1% of dentists. He has numerous memberships and associations, including Diplomate status with The American Board of Oral Implantology (D-ABOI) and The International Congress of Oral Implantologists (D-ICOI). Overall, Dr. Scott has dedicated his life and career to helping patients improve their oral health through expert dentistry. His goal is to help each patient keep their smile healthy, attractive, and comfortable for the duration of their lifetime.