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Fluoride: the Myths and Facts

Fluoride: the Myths and Facts
Fluoride: the Myths and Facts

Fluoride is one of those things that carries a lot of confusion. There are many myths and misconceptions about fluoride, which can make it difficult to separate fact from fiction. 

To help you make an informed decision next time you buy toothpaste, here are some of the most common myths about fluoride, along with the facts you need to know.

MYTH 1: Fluoride is a toxic chemical that can be harmful to your health

Fluoride is a naturally occurring element. You can find trace amounts in certain foods and bodies of water like rivers, lakes, and oceans and even in tiny amounts in the human body. 

Fun fact: fluoride is so safe that it is added to many public water supplies in order to help prevent tooth decay. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the USA, has even named community water fluoridation one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th century. 

MYTH 2: You don’t need fluoride to clean or whiten your teeth

This one is more of a misconception because technically, it’s true. Fluoride’s purpose is to stop tooth decay in its tracks and make your teeth more resistant to decay. So, while you technically don’t need it to keep your smile fresh and clean, it does help to keep your teeth cavity-free.

Clean, white teeth are a great bonus for brushing twice a day, but the main goal of daily dental care is to protect your teeth from cavities.

Now, this doesn’t mean you absolutely have to use fluoride toothpaste. But if you choose to go the fluoride-free route, it’s essential to be even more careful with your diet. Try and eliminate added sugar and processed foods.

MYTH 3: Fluoride is dangerous to children

Another common misconception about fluoride is the belief that it is harmful to children. Truth is, anything that is in excess is dangerous. 

To be sure, use children's fluoride toothpaste 

Up to age two, you should use a fluoride toothpaste of 1,000 parts per million (ppm).

Above this then start to use a fluoride level of 1,350-1,500ppm.

Once they get adult teeth (usually from 6 onwards), they can start using adult toothpaste, which is around 1500 ppm fluoride. Some children still prefer the taste of children’s toothpaste as less minty.

MYTH 4: Only USA uses fluoride water

Currently, around 6 million people in England live in areas with water fluoridation schemes, mainly in the West Midlands and the North East. Birmingham was the first permanent scheme to commence in 1964.

Fun fact: Ireland and Singapore are the only countries in the world that legally mandate water fluoridation.

Some countries such as countries including Bulgaria, Chile, China, Peru, the Russian Federation and Thailand have implemented community-based milk fluoridation programs. 

Myth 5: You can get too much fluoride from using fluoridated toothpaste

So, what’s the verdict? Is fluoride good for our teeth or not? The answer is a little more complicated than a simple yes or no. It seems that fluoride can be beneficial when used topically on teeth via toothpaste or dentist applied gels.

Excess can lead to dental fluorosis. Mild dental fluorosis can be seen as fine white lines or flecking on the surface of the teeth. Severe fluorosis can cause the tooth's enamel to become pitted or discoloured.

Ask your Bow Lane dentist for more information.


If you want to keep your beautiful smile for less, now you can join our exclusive club Smile for Life which includes a visit a year with your dentist to deliver a ‘Healthy Smile’ review, two visits a year with your dental hygienist, all necessary X-rays and 10% reduction off all dental treatments.

Ready to start saving? Give us a call at 020 7236 3600 or send us an email at 

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