Exactly … What is Fluoride and Why Does It Help Oral Health?

Exactly … What is Fluoride and Why Does It Help Oral Health?

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Everyone is aware of that fluoride is present in toothpaste and mouthwash, however is it actually that essential? According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), water fluoridation is one among our nation’s best public well being achievements. 

Why is fluoride so essential? 

The American Dental Association (ADA) says that fluoridated water reduces tooth decay for adults and kids by greater than 25%.1 Because it’s so efficient, cities and townships in the usand across the globe have been including fluoride to neighborhood water sources because the mid-Twentieth century. 

The most not too long ago obtainable information, revealed in 2018, says that round 73% of neighborhood water sources are fluoridated within the U.S. This delivers fluoridated water to about 63% of all Americans, in keeping with the National Water Fluoridation Statistics, an official supply supplied by the CDC.

Today we’re going to take a look at the commonest questions folks have about fluoride, together with what it does, is it protected, the place do you truly get it from, each naturally and supplementally.

What Is Fluoride? Where Is It Found?

Fluoride is derived from fluorine, a pure mineral discovered within the floor all world wide. Scientists discovered within the early 1900s that there was a correlation between normal oral well being and utilizing fluoride. Due to this discovery, cities began including the mineral to neighborhood water provides to assist enhance public dental well being.

Quick quiz: Which metropolis was the very first so as to add fluoride to their ingesting water within the U.S.? Hint – it’s within the Midwest.2

How Does Fluoride Work?

One of the explanations fluoride helps to forestall tooth decay is as a result of it truly makes tooth proof against demineralization. Demineralization is what happens each time acids from meals are available contact with tooth’s enamel. Fluoride additionally helps to remineralize your tooth. This means it helps restore the injury that’s occurred as a consequence of demineralization. So not solely will fluoride assist tooth resist injury within the first place, it additionally helps to strengthen and restore injury. 

Where Can You Get Fluoride? 

Most folks get fluoride by way of their toothpaste and comparable oral care merchandise. This can embrace mouthwash, preventative oral rinses and different dental therapies. Fluoride additionally comes naturally by way of some meals, in small quantities, and thru ingesting water. 

Public water provides

The majority of public water methods by way of the U.S. are supplemented with fluoride. You can truly examine in case your native water is fluoridated through the use of Find Water System Information, a software supplied by the CDC. Just open the hyperlink and discover your space to study extra about your water provide. 

People who’ve personal wells on their property could not know what stage of fluoride is of course contained of their water supply. According to the CDC, the optimum quantity of fluoride in ingesting water must be 0.7 milligrams per liter. You can have your water checked to see what stage of fluoride, and different minerals and substances, are in your water. Contact your native well being division for data on native water testing.

Bottled water

There are different methods you could be lacking out on fluoridation, particularly if your property makes use of bottled water or a water filtration system. The ADA suggests that almost all bottled waters haven’t any fluoride, or sub-optimal quantities. While there may be not a robust hyperlink between bottle water and tooth decay, it might probably scale back how a lot you obtain and restrict the optimistic results it might probably have in your tooth.

There are some stable causes for utilizing bottled water and water-filtration methods. Many folks imagine it merely tastes higher than what comes out of the faucet. People additionally need to shield themselves from ingesting some chemical compounds that filtered water removes. Is it doable, nevertheless, that through the use of filtered water, the advantages of fluoride are being misplaced within the course of. 

For those that need to use filtered water due to high quality and taste considerations, there could also be choices. You can look into filtration choices that don’t take away fluoride. You can even speak with the filtration-system producer to see if there are methods you may protect fluoride in your ingesting water.

  • Reverse osmosis: Reverse osmosis does take away fluoride from water.
  • Distillation course of: Distilling water does take away fluoride from water.
  • Carbon water filters: Carbon filters usually don’t take away fluoride. There are some, nevertheless, that may. Check with the producer.
  • Water softeners: Most water softeners don’t take away fluoride out of your water.

Those that choose to drink filtered water, together with bottled water, do have loads of choices to get the fluoride they should shield their tooth.

Toothpaste and mouthwash with fluoride

Toothpaste might be the highest product folks use that comprises fluoride. Not solely does it shield your tooth from decay, it helps take away stains. For this purpose, some higher end tooth-brightening products additionally use fluoride. It can also be added to many alternative merchandise used for oral well being, like mouthwash and rinses.

Fluoride is efficient at defending and fortifying tooth enamel and protected to make use of. Unfortunately, nevertheless, there are some myths on the market which have scared folks away from fluoride. Some dad and mom even fear that their youngsters will likely be harmed by being uncovered to an excessive amount of fluoride.

Fluorosis is the time period for consuming an excessive amount of fluoride. Parents must be cautious when their youngsters brush their tooth, serving to them study to not use an excessive amount of toothpaste or swallow any of it.

Children as much as the age of three can use toothpaste with 1,000 elements per million (ppm) fluoride, in keeping with Medical News Today. They additionally say that youngsters between the ages of three and 5 can have barely increased concentrations, starting from 1,350 to 1,500 ppm. It’s essential, nevertheless, to hunt private medical recommendation from a trusted medical skilled, reminiscent of your loved ones dentist or pediatrician.

Dental therapies with fluoride

Your dentist could suggest fluoride therapies. These are utilized to your tooth topically, often each few months. Some of those in-office dental fluoride therapies come within the type of gels, pastes, varnishes and foam. The prices range based mostly on supplier and placement. Dentists suggest most of these therapies for a lot of causes apart from poor oral well being. According to the ADA, dentists suggest fluoride therapies for causes reminiscent of: 

  • Fillings and restorations, together with crowns
  • Gum issues together with recessive gums or uncovered dental roots
  • Persistent dry mouth
  • Eating issues or poor vitamin issues 
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Radiation remedy in areas across the head and neck

Foods with fluoride

The FDA says that ocean fish and shellfish include the best ranges of fluoride. This comes from fluoride that naturally happens inside ocean water. There are different sources of fluoride in meals, together with some breakfast cereals, like oatmeal, and black tea and raisins.

Additionally, you get fluoride whenever you cook dinner meals in fluoridated water. This solely occurs, nevertheless, in case you use water that comprises fluoride. Parents utilizing toddler method ought to seek the advice of their pediatrician about what water they need to use. This contains asking for beneficial fluoride ranges. 

You can discover out extra about meals with fluoride from the USDA’s National Fluoride Database of Selected Beverages and Foods.   

Supplements with fluoride

There are areas the place water provides would not have fluoride. This can go away some folks extra weak to tooth decay, particularly youngsters. In this case, a dentist could prescribe fluoride dietary supplements. These kinds of dietary supplements are solely obtainable by prescription, by way of a pharmacy. It is essential that you just rigorously observe directions on any fluoride-containing product.

The Truth About Fluoride Myths

There is not any finish to myths, controversy and theories on-line. That is simply as true on the subject of the subject of fluoride. While it may be onerous to search out good sources for the reality, the ADA has addressed many fluoride myths of their publication Fluoridation Facts (Practical Guide Series). Some of the myths they handle embrace: 

  • Fluoride is not poisonous to devour.
  • Fluoridated water that’s handled to beneficial ranges is not related to most cancers
  • Fluoridated water doesn’t result in osteosarcoma, a sort of most cancers.
  • Water with fluoride is protected for toddlers except your dentist, or pediatrician, particularly says in any other case.
  • Fluoride is just not recognized to trigger any adverse results on the thyroid.
  • No scientific proof reveals that correctly fluoridated water results in any sort of start defects.
  • Fluoridated water has not been proven to be related to an elevated threat of heart problems. 

It is at all times essential to make use of solely trusted sources, such because the CDC and ADA, for data as an alternative of social media or web sources. If you’ve got particular questions on oral well being, or fluoride, ask a trusted medical or dental skilled. 


1- For the trivia-curious, the CDC’s 10 greatest public health achievements, along with neighborhood water fluoridation within the Twentieth century are: vaccinations, motorcar security, safer workplaces, management of infectious illnesses, decline in deaths from coronary coronary heart illness and stroke, safer and more healthy meals, more healthy moms and infants, household planning, and recognition of tobacco use as a well being hazard.

2- The first metropolis so as to add fluoride to the general public water provide was Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1945, in keeping with the CDC.


ADA, Fluoridation Facts (Practical Guide Series), 2018, accessed 2021 Aug. 30.

CDC, Ten Great Public Health Achievements — United States, 1900-1999, MMWR Weekly, 1999 April 2, accessed 2021 Aug. 30. 

NIH, Fluoride Fact Sheet for Health Professionals, Office of Dietary Supplements, 2021 March 29, accessed 2021 Aug. 30.

Medical News Today, Why Do We Have Fluoride in Our Drinking Water? 2018 Feb. 21, accessed 2021 Aug. 30.

NIH, Fluoridated Water (Common Cancer Myths and Misconceptions), National Cancer Institute, 2017 May 15, accessed 2021 Aug. 31.