Fluoride: Good or Bad?

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 can actually be toxic if ingested in large enough quantities.

So which is true? Do the health benefits outweigh the negatives of fluoride in toothpaste and drinking water? We at Fuquay Family Dentistry know that Fuquay-Varina 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

Why Use Fluoride in the First Place?

To begin to understand the controversy, we must first understand what led to putting fluoride in toothpaste and water. Even today, 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, became the first city in the world to fluoridate its drinking water supply in 1945. The hope was that fluoridation would dramatically reduce the amount of tooth decay in children. After 11 years, the National Institute for Dental Research confirmed that fluoridation had coincided with a 60% drop in the rates of tooth decay. As of the year 2000, roughly half of the country’s water supply was fluoridated.

How Does Fluoride Work?

Fluoride works in two ways: it keeps plaque-based bacteria from producing decay-causing acids, and it repairs the areas of teeth that have been damaged by tooth decay.

Is Fluoride Dangerous?

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 also develop. In extremely high doses, fluoride becomes toxic enough to 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.

Moderation is Key

As long as fluoride doesn’t exceed the EPA-regulated levels of 4mg/L, research suggests the benefits outweigh potential complications. The trick is to monitor fluoride intake from all sources, not just water and toothpaste. Even though precautions can be taken, there are plenty of anti-fluoride activists that still advocate for the elimination of fluoride from all sources.

How Do Dr. McCormick & Dr. Meunier Feel About Fluoride?

Like most other dentists, Dr. McCormick & Dr. Meunier recommend that Fuquay-Varina residents use fluoride toothpaste, provided they also rinse thoroughly. If you have any questions about fluoride or would like to chat about all things dental, don’t hesitate to give Fuquay Family Dentistry a call!


Sources

http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/oral-care/products/how-much-fluoride.htm

http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/oral-care/products/fluoride-free-toothpaste.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00056796.htm

http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/DataStatistics/FindDataByTopic/DentalCaries/

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/54577-too-much-of-anything-is-bad-but-too-much-good

http://fluoridealert.org/articles/kennerly/

A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Dental School and a recipient of the Monte G. Miska Prosthodontics Award, Dr. Bryden McCormick has been serving the communities of Fuquay-Varina and Holly Springs for many years. With a dedication to improving his patients’ overall health, and a passion for working with his hands, Dr. McCormick’s goal is to surpass his patients’ expectations at every turn. Dr. McCormick’s continuing commitment to education has led him to receive fellowship from the International Congress of Oral Implantologists. He has completed numerous courses on dental implants, Six Month Smiles®, cosmetic dentistry, and digital dentistry from world-renowned institutions, such as the Scottsdale Center and the Triangle Dental Institute. In the community, Dr. McCormick has volunteered his professional services with the North Carolina Missions of Mercy Clinics, Giving Smiles Events at Raleigh Dental Arts, and the NC Baptist Men’s Mobile Dental Ministry. He also sponsored a Free Dental Day at Fuquay Family Dentistry and served over 100 patients in need within our community. Personally, Dr. McCormick sponsors local community and school events, such as FVAA teams, Friends of the Chorus, Band Booster, Theater Patron at the Fuquay-Varina High School, Theatre Patrons, Friends of the Museums, and local travel baseball and softball teams. Originally from Santa Cruz, California, Dr. McCormick currently resides in Fuquay-Varina with his wife, Kristen, who teaches at Wake Tech. They have three children and a Newfoundland fur ball named Otis. In his free time, Dr. McCormick enjoys smoking ribs, cooking, working in his yard, playing golf, and spending time with his family.

Posted in Dental Health, Patient Care

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