Fluoride has been a topic of debate for as long as anyone can remember. It has also been a very emotive issue. What most people don’t realise is that fluoride is a naturally occurring element and is present all around us.
Some things that contain Fluoride:
- Water (even without addition of fluoride, there are water bodies that naturally have fluoride in them)
So basically, all of us have some sort of fluoride every day and will continue living with it forever.
Melbourne water has been fluoridated since the 1970s. The concentration in our water is 1 part per million (ppm) (1 milligram/1 litre). This is the recommendation by the World Health Organisation. Fluoride added to the water is one of the simplest, cheapest health initiatives that governments have ever done with great results. It is witnessed by the difference between children’s teeth in Melbourne compared to Queensland cities. Queensland hasn’t had water fluoridation for a long time and the oral health of the kids in Queensland is much worse!
How does it help the tooth?
Having fluoride in the water allows teeth to develop an even stronger outer layer of enamel called ‘fluorapatite’ which is much more resistant to decay than teeth that haven’t had fluoride exposure. This is so important when kids’ teeth are developing and erupting! When teeth are first erupted, they are at a higher risk of developing decay so the fluoride will help strengthen the tooth.
So why do people oppose it then?
Misinformation! There are organisations involved in spreading incorrect statistics and deliberating misleading to win their cause. Others mistakenly think that it does damage to your body. There is absolutely no scientific basis to claim that a low dose of fluoride in the water does anything harmful. Some councils have to bear the cost of water fluoridation so they prefer to run a campaign to take it out of the water because they don’t have the money to fund it!
So what should you do?
- Drink fluoridated water if available to you- it tastes JUST as delicious as non-fluoridated water!
- Brush your kid’s teeth with a lower fluoride kid’s toothpaste from the age of 2-6 under supervision
- When kids are 6 years and older – start brushing with an adult toothpaste (small amount)
- If living on tank water/non-fluoridated water – ask your dentist if any supplemental fluoride is required for you or your children
Other than that, rest easy, drink up and smile! Water is the healthiest drink for your body and your teeth!