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Fluoride Facts for Parents: Dispelling Myths About Fluoride Treatments

July 21, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — rozas @ 12:34 pm
A child receiving a fluoride treatment

Fluoride is a naturally occurring element that has been used as a preventative for tooth decay for over a century. You can probably remember going to the dentist as a child and tasting the bubblegum-flavored gel yourself. It’s been so effective that cities have begun putting the chemical into the water so everyone can benefit.

But is it safe for young children? Much of the fear surrounding its use comes from people in the corners of the internet who claim it is poisonous and have been suspicious of its introduction into drinking water. But do these fears have any merit? Read on to learn more about fluoride and how it can be used to safely treat teeth.

Fluoride and Fluorine Are Not the Same

The controversy around fluoride may spring from the name of another element. Fluorine (note the “ine” at the end) is toxic to humans. Fluoride (with an “ide”) is an ion of fluorine and is completely harmless in proper quantities—just like most medicines.

The origins of fluorine in water go back to its discovery in 1901. A town in Colorado was experiencing a strange rash of children with chocolate-colored teeth. After research, dentists Dr. Frederick McKay and Dr. Green Vardiman Black alongside chemist H. V. Churchill found that a recently connected nearby spring was to blame. The culprit? Too much fluoride in the water.

Do Fluoride Treatments Turn Teeth Brown?

Not at all. Modern dental treatments use a measured amount of the substance to achieve optimal results without the strange side effects noted in the story above. Even drinking water with fluoride in it will not turn your teeth brown.

The water from Colorado Springs was oversaturated with the chemical, causing the undeveloped teeth of the children there to change color. On the bright side, their teeth were incredibly resistant to decay! This fact is what led researchers to explore fluoride further.

What Makes Fluoride Good?

When administered by a dentist, fluoride has decay-fighting properties that can help a child’s teeth grow properly. While fluoride doesn’t reverse the effects of decay already present, it blocks the formation of acid in plaque.

It also re-mineralizes the enamel in teeth and makes them more resistant to the acidic properties of some foods. This is why fluoride treatments have been common and recommended for so long, especially for young children.

Fluoride is completely safe and harmless to children. Not only will it prevent cavities from forming, but it will also spare them the pain that comes with tooth decay. The next time someone says you shouldn’t let your child have fluoride treatments because they’re poisonous, you now have the facts to make that decision for yourself.

About the Practice

Dr. Melissa Rozas and Dr. Terra Compton believe every child deserves special care and attention and every family should have knowledge to protect their oral health. Dr. Rozas is the Co-Chairman of the Greater Dallas Pediatric Dental Society, and Dr. Compton is an International Affiliation of Tongue-tie Professionals—organizations that advocate for education and research in pediatric dentistry. To schedule an appointment or to ask about other treatments offered at Melissa Rozas DDS and Associates of Coppell, visit the website here or call (972) 393-9779.

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