Dental Tips Blog


Fluoride – The Benefits, The Risks, The Alternatives

Some people believe fluoride is a toxin. Others, a vital defense against decay.

What are the facts?

Benefits of Fluoride

Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral found around the world. Ingesting small amounts during childhood helps fortify the teeth and bones while they’re still developing.

Long into adulthood, regular topical fluoride exposure via toothpaste and rinses continue to help. They reinforce existing enamel with a natural cavity-resistant tooth material called fluorapatite. This process also attracts other minerals like calcium to strengthen weak spots.

Additionally, fluoride prevents cavity-causing bacteria from growing on the teeth.

Fluoride Risks

  • Ingesting too much fluoride during childhood can make teeth brittle and discolored
  • Ingesting a lots of fluoride at one time can cause an upset stomach

Besides these, fluoride has no other documented risks. You can easily reduce the only known risks by keeping fluoride products out of reach of children, and use as directed by your dentist.

Alternatives to Fluoride

Decay and enamel wear are caused by bacteria in plaque. This plaque forms within hours after brushing. The longer it’s on your teeth, the more likely it will cause damage. Fluoride keeps on working despite the presence of plaque. But without fluoride, you’ll probably have to brush and floss a lot more.

Make some diet changes. Cutting out sweet drinks, limiting snack sessions, reducing processed carbs, and eating lots of calcium are effective for reducing your cavity risk, naturally.

There are even some fluoride-free toothpastes on the market. To find one that works for you, ask your family dentist.

Proper use of fluoride is a smart way to prevent decay. Talk to your dentist to learn more!

Posted on behalf of:
Gilreath Dental Associates
200 White St NW
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 514-1224


Could In-Utero Fluoride Exposure Affect Cognitive Development?

A study by Environmental Health Perspectives (EPH) released in September 2017 suggested a link between high fluoride levels during pregnancy and subsequent low IQ scores in the babies born.

299 mother-child pairs in Mexico were followed for 12 years following the birth of the babies. The children were tested twice for intelligence according to standardized measurements. Samples of the mothers’ urine were analyzed for fluoride content.

There was a pattern indicating that kids’ IQ scores dipped lower in proportion with their moms’ increased levels of fluoride. Above 0.8 milligrams per liter, every 0.5 milligram increase was mirrored by a drop in the intelligence score.

Before you throw out your fluoride toothpaste in a panic, consider these facts:

  • Mexican mothers tested were exposed to fluoride via supplemented salt and dental products, not fluoridated water. They averaged levels of 0.9 mg/L in their urine.
  • The US Department of Health and Human Services has regulated water fluoridation to no more than 0.7 mg/L.
  • Developing babies are extremely sensitive to many minerals in large amounts, including iron and folate
  • There is no evidence fluoride affects children the way it may affect babies still developing in the womb
  • Many other naturally-occurring elements in “healthy” sources can prove toxic in high amounts, such as thiocyanate in kale
  • Even the researchers involved in this study admit that more and larger studies are necessary to prove the connection

If you use fluoride products according to the age-appropriate recommendations your dentist gives, then your family will be safe. As far as pregnancy goes, it’s best to contact your doctor or obstetrician for more information on safe fluoride use until more data becomes available.

Posted on behalf of:
Milton Dental Specialists
13075 Hwy 9, Suite 110
Milton, GA 30004
(770) 521-2100

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