Is fluoride bad for you? Will it damage the look of your teeth? Will it cause cancer? Read on and we'll give you the truth on some of the most common myths about fluoride.
Myth: People who drink fluoridated water will develop fluorosis.
Fact: Fluorosis occurs when a person takes in very high amounts of fluoride. In the United States, the amount of fluoride that is added to drinking water is at a level that comes with a very low likelihood of fluorosis. Although some rare cases can be found in the U.S., they are typically very mild.
Myth: Fluoride is dangerous for children.
Fact: Fluoride is not considered a danger to children when used as intended. Drinking fluoridated water not only helps to strengthen teeth as they grow, but it can also help prevent future tooth decay and loss.
Myth: It is extremely expensive for communities to fluoridate water.
Fact: Adding fluoride to the water is considered one of the less expensive ways to prevent tooth decay. It is cheaper in general than treating tooth decay.
Myth: Drinking fluoridated water will cause cancer.
Fact: Numerous studies and research have shown that the addition of fluoride does not increase the risk of cancer or other serious health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, or kidney problems. It is endorsed as being safe by both the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Myth: Fluoridated water does not have an impact on tooth decay.
Fact: There have been numerous studies conducted in the U.S. and in Europe that show that fluoridation helps reduce tooth decay among both adults and children.
Myth: Europe does not allow fluoridated water, which means the U.S. shouldn’t, either.
Fact: European countries do have water fluoridation systems in place. Salt fluoridation is the common method that is used in Europe and also in Latin America.
Myth: Fluoride is medication that is forced on communities.
Fact: The fluoride that is used to fluoridate water is not a medicine. A U.S. court decision ruled that fluoride is a nutrient and not a medication.
Myth: The risk of autism is increased by fluoride use.
Fact: No evidence from research or study indicates that the risk of autism is elevated because of fluoride or fluoridated water.
Myth: Fluoridated water is not necessary because of the fluoride in toothpaste.
Fact: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the amount of fluoride in toothpaste doesn’t provide the level of protection needed to fight tooth decay. Together, fluoridated water and toothpaste work to provide maximum protection.
Myth: Fluoride is unnatural.
Fact: Certain levels of fluoride can be found naturally in water and other sources. Fluoridation only increases the level of fluoride to one that helps decrease decay.