30 July 2023

Fluoride in dental care:
common myths

Fluoride has long been a true cornerstone of dental care – beneficial to generations of patients. That being said, numerous misconceptions and myths have surfaced, leading to an increasing confusion (and even a degree of hostility!) when it comes to this topic.

In this article we’d like to debunk the most common myths surrounding fluoride prophylaxis, shedding some light on its irreplaceable role in maintaining optimal dental health.



Myth no.1: fluoride is harmful.


The idea that fluoride poses threat to overall health is an incredibly persistent misconception stemming form partial truths, half-understood case studies and numerous medical nuances.

In reality, when used in appropriate amounts, fluoride is not only safe, but beneficial for dental health. Health authorities worldwide endorse controlled use of fluoride in dental care - from Polish Dental Association down to the World Health Organization (WHO).



Myth no.2: regular fluoride prophylaxis causes dental fluorosis.


Dental fluorosis is a condition affecting tooth enamel, causing discolouration, mottling and/or changes in enamel's surface structure. There are widespread claims that any exposure to fluoride can lead to fluorosis. However, while the existence of dental fluorosis is of course a fact, the condition itself occurs due to an excessive intake, especially during tooth development.

The controlled and measured use of fluoride in dental products and under dental professional guidance minimizes the risks of such problems.



Myth no.3: fluoride is ineffective in preventing tooth decay.


Critics of fluoride prophylaxis often claim that its efficacy in preventing tooth decay is negligible. Yet actually, this misconception contradicts both extensive scientific evidence supporting fluoride's effectiveness in reducing cavities and also the clinical experience. Fluoride works by strengthening tooth enamel (check out the previous article for more details!) and increasing its resistance to acidic environment and bacterial attacks within oral cavity.



Myth no.4: natural alternatives to fluoride prophylaxis are equally effective.


The “natural” products are very much en vogue and more and more people believe that fluoride-free dental care alternatives provide the exact same benefits as fluoride-based prophylaxis. The truth is that while natural products can definitely contribute to overall dental hygiene, fluoride's unique, protective role in preventing tooth decay still remains unmatched.



Myth no.5: Fluoride is only beneficial to children.


Another common myth is that fluoride prophylaxis is necessary only during childhood – in other words, the time when teeth are developing. However, fluoride remains beneficial throughout our life, not least of all because our enamel continues to be exposed to acidic, cariogenic environment. Therefore adults also benefit from fluoride, especially if they have high cavity risk.


Overall, fluoride is an extremely valuable tool in maintaining oral health and preventing tooth decay. As with any substance, it's essential to use it responsibly, trusting both scientific evidence and guidance of dental professionals to maximize its benefits and ensure optimal oral health throughout life.



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