For most people, using a fluoridated toothpaste or having fluoride treatments is something they take for granted. You may have even read or heard some information about fluoride that made you wonder if it was even necessary. We’ve even heard a few partial truths and bits of misinformation when it comes to fluoride, so we would like to address some of them here with our favorite Fluoride Facts:
- Adding fluoride to drinking water is NOT a way of forcing medication on people. Did you know that fluoride isn’t a medication at all? It’s a mineral, just like salt or calcium or any of the other minerals your body needs to function properly. It’s naturally found in almost all water supplies, and even in many brands of bottled water that come from natural springs. The problem isn’t whether or not the fluoride is present – it’s about how much is there. The filtering process tends to remove a lot of it and some areas of the world naturally have less than others. For this reason, most municipal water has fluoride added back in to prevent tooth decay and to fortify bone strength just like iodine is added to salt or Vitamin D is added to milk.
- Fluoride treatments and fluoridated water do NOT cause severe fluorosis – the brown pitted teeth that some sources claim is the result of fluoride treatments. While it’s true that too much fluoride does cause fluorosis, most fluorosis is simply a matter of tiny white specks on the teeth that most people don’t even notice. The type of fluorosis shown in these images is severe fluorosis – which is almost nonexistent in the United States. In fact, since 2011 the amount of fluoride in our drinking water has been recommended to be about 0.7 parts per million – a very small amount. How small exactly? For every one million drops of water, there is not even one full drop of fluoride. This small amount in our water plus the fluoride in our toothpastes and fluoride treatments is nowhere near enough to cause damage.
- European nations DO have fluoridation programs! Many people falsely believe that nations in Europe do not have national fluoridation programs. While not every nation uses fluoridated drinking water, that is usually because of engineering impossibilities and those nations have a salt fluoridation program instead. Like we add iodine to our salt, those nations add fluoride. Countries like England, Ireland and Spain use water fluoridation and some countries in the eastern portion of Europe have fluoridated milk programs. The truth is almost all developed nations worldwide fortify the fluoride intake of their population in some ways.
- Fluoride is NOT made from fertilizer. This is a bit of misinformation that is used by several anti-fluoride campaigns. Most fluoride is extracted from phosphate rock and fertilizer does often use phosphate as well. However, fluoride is simply NOT made from or a by-product of fertilizer. The rock is quarried and processed to extract the fluoride and phosphoric acid (an ingredient in many soft drinks and foods). After that, some of the rock may be used to make fertilizer. That (and the fact that both words start with the letter F) is the only connection between fertilizer and fluoride.