Cavities used to be a fact of life. But over the past few decades, tooth decay has been reduced dramatically. The key reason: fluoride. Research has shown that fluoride reduces cavities in both children and adults. It also helps repair the early stages of tooth decay even before the decay becomes visible. Unfortunately, many people continue to be misinformed about fluoride and fluoridation. Fluoride is like any other nutrient; it is safe and effective when used appropriately.
For over five decades, the American Dental Association has continuously endorsed the fluoridation of community water supplies and the use of fluoride-containing products as safe and effective measures for preventing tooth decay. Fluoride and Fluoridation contains resources that provide important facts and answer a myriad of questions.
Some private wells may contain naturally fluoridated water. Fluoride has come under some recent scrutiny by public health officials, some of whom question how effective it is in preventing cavities.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, a child may face a condition called enamel fluorosis if he or she gets too much fluoride during the years of tooth development. Too much fluoride can result in defects in tooth enamel.
The American Dental Association has stated that the FDA-required warning labels on toothpaste packaging, which state that poison control centers should be contacted if one swallows fluoride toothpaste, “could unnecessarily frighten parents and children, and that the label greatly overstates any demonstrated or potential danger posed by fluoride toothpastes.”