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Fluoride: Sorting Facts and Fiction

Fluoride: It’s in your toothpaste, your food, and your water, and if you live in some areas, it may even be in your local news headlines, too. 

Since 1945, when Grand Rapids, Michigan, became the first city to fluoridate the public water supply, the mineral has been a hot topic in many communities. While many people happily accepted this tooth-saving boost to their water supply, other groups have raised concerns about it causing over-fluoridation or that adding it to public water supplies is “forced medication.” 

Several places in the United States do not fluoridate their water supplies. While water fluoridation is a common practice in most communities across the country to improve dental health, some areas have chosen not to add fluoride to their water for various reasons. Here are a few examples of places in the U.S. that do not fluoridate their water:

  1. Albuquerque, New Mexico: Albuquerque is one of the largest cities in the U.S. without water fluoridation. Water suppliers in this area do not add fluoride to the drinking water.
  2. El Paso, Texas: El Paso, a major city in Texas, does not fluoridate its water supply. This has been a subject of debate among residents and health officials.
  3. Portland, Oregon: Portland is one of the most well-known cities in the U.S. that does not add fluoride to its water. This decision has been a topic of discussion and controversy over the years.
  4. San Jose, California: San Jose, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, does not have water fluoridation. The lack of fluoridation has led to efforts by local health organizations to provide dental care and education to underserved communities.
  5. Spokane, Washington: Spokane, a city in eastern Washington, does not fluoridate its water. Dental health programs and initiatives have been established to address oral health disparities.
  6. Honolulu, Hawaii: While some parts of Hawaii practice water fluoridation, Honolulu, the capital and largest city, does not fluoridate its water supply.
  7. Las Vegas, Nevada: Las Vegas, known for its entertainment and tourism, does not add fluoride to its water.
  8. Boise, Idaho: Boise, the capital city of Idaho, does not have water fluoridation

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that is famous for its dental health benefits, such as the prevention of tooth decay and the strengthening of tooth enamel; however, despite its many benefits, there’s still a lot of misinformation out there about it.

So, what’s fact and what’s fiction? If you’re curious about the truth, here’s some clarification that will help put a smile on your face!

Facts About Fluoride

Fact: It Has Dental Health Benefits

Fluoride can help prevent tooth decay by making the enamel of your teeth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque, bacteria, and sugar. The dental benefits are undeniable. In fact, it is believed that by adding fluoride to public water supplies and to products like toothpaste and mouthwash, children and adults can expect a 25 percent reduction in cavities and tooth decay!

Fact: It Is Naturally Occurring

Naturally occurring fluoride is commonly found in various sources, both in water and foods. It naturally exists in soil, rocks, and minerals like fluorite, fluorspar, and apatite. Groundwater can be a significant source, with its concentration varying depending on the geological composition of the region. Additionally, certain foods, such as fish, tea leaves, and some vegetables, may contain trace amounts of fluoride absorbed from the soil and water they grow in.

Fact: Community Water Fluoridation Is Safe

The Centers for Disease Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have deemed it a safe and effective way to protect oral health. As a result, many communities adjust their water supply for an optimal level of dental health. These levels are monitored regularly and kept within a range that is safe for consumption.

Fact: Topically Applied Fluoride Is Safe And Effective

When you get a professional fluoride treatment from Dr. Morgan, you can rest assured that your treatment is safe, as are the fluoride levels in toothpaste and mouthwash when used as directed.

Myths About Fluoride

Myth: Fluoride is Harmful

One of the most common misconceptions is that it’s harmful to your health. However, the potential risks associated with fluoride, such as dental fluorosis or skeletal fluorosis, are primarily associated with high levels of overexposure, which is extremely rare in communities with fluoridation programs.

Myth: Water Fluoridation Is Forced Medication

One popular argument against water supply fluoridation is that it’s a form of forced medication. Water fluoridation is a public health measure designed to improve dental health, similar to the practice of adding iodine to salt or even fortifying milk with vitamin D. For those who are concerned that they are being forced to consume it, there are still options available for alternative sources of drinking water.

Myth: It Causes Various Health Problems

While it is true that excessive consumption can eventually lead to health issues such as dental fluorosis and skeletal fluorosis, these conditions are primarily associated with consuming high levels, such as naturally occurring high-fluoride water or industrial pollution- not from the levels typically used in community water fluoridation programs.

What Should You Do?

With so much discussion about fluoride in the media, it’s natural to be curious or concerned, but unless your community has been found to have abnormal levels of naturally occurring fluoride in your water supply, you can rest assured that community fluoridated water is safe for you and your family to consume.

Furthermore, it is a safe and effective means to strengthen your teeth’s enamel and protect them against plaque acid, sugar, and nasty bacteria that could cause cavities and tooth decay. We also recommend fluoride treatments as part of your routine dental care in our office.

If you have any questions or concerns about your or your family’s fluoride use, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Dr. Morgan’s office. We’d be happy to help ease your mind and show you the many benefits it has on your oral health!

To schedule a fluoride treatment, dental exam, or any other oral health service, please contact Dr. Morgan’s office today!