Fluoride Pros and Cons

There are so many questions about fluoride and its safety. People and patients are curious about the difference between fluoride and non-fluoride toothpaste.

What is fluoride, really? You often hear it on toothpaste commercials but what are its benefits?

Read more and let's find out together!

In this article, Dr. Oh and Dr. Estafan will help you comprehend what fluoride is, what is its importance, what are the fluoride pros and cons and all the different myths about fluoride.

What is Fluoride

Fluoride is a natural mineral. It is actually present in very small amounts in the food that we eat and also in water.

It can be found in soil, rocks, and it is the 13th most vital element in the earth’s crust which is the Fluorine.

So, is fluoride safe or not?

Fluoride exists naturally. It is a mineral.

So does this mean fluoride is safe? Well, it depends. It can be poisonous if ingested, especially in huge quantities.

You might have noticed that the fluoride toothpaste containers have a warning label, stating to contact the poison control if a large amount is ingested.

But applying directly to teeth, externally – fluoride gives various benefits to our teeth.

Fluoride Pros & Cons: How Does Fluoride Prevent Tooth Decay?

Every day, there is a battle between the plaque–sticky, colorless film of bacteria and the minerals in our saliva plus the fluoride from toothpaste, water, and the like.

Fluoride helps us win the battle against these cavity-causing bacteria coming from the food we eat.

Fluoride protects our teeth in two ways:

Topical fluoride. When we say topical it suggests that relating or applied to a district of the body. This is the fluoride in our toothpaste, gels, and rinses. These are placed directly onto the teeth.

Systemic fluoride. Systemic fluoride gets ingested into the body. It will be eaten through fluoridated water, fluoride-containing food, or prescription supplements from dentists. It gets incorporated into developing tooth buds in children, therefore, the teeth can be more resistant to tooth decay.

Topical and Systemic Fluoride will each facilitate stopping cavities by strengthening the enamel in our teeth.

Fluoride can greatly help reverse early signs of tooth decay.

The Importance of Fluoride

It has been said that fluoride is beneficial to everyone’s (including children) oral health.

It is because the fluorine mineral helps prevent cavities by protecting the enamel from acidity due to plaque build-up.

This is possible by its ability to remineralize our tooth’s top layer which is the enamel.

Each day, minerals are lost from enamel by acid. The fluoride content found in foods we consume and water we intake redeposits the enamel layer.

The Argument Against Fluoride

Water fluoridation was endorsed by U.S Public Health Service because they have seen a few pieces of evidence of fluoride’s safety and benefits.

After some years, the majority of the countries around the globe have rejected the practice. 70% of Americans and the 200 million people from different countries are now drinking fluoridated water.

Debunking the Myths


Now that we know what fluoride is– let’s debunk these myths. What goes into that toothpaste is a little bit more controversial.


Fact: Fluoride natura. It is present in many foods and also in our water. Even the water in our oceans has fluoride in it. Water fluoridation is simply the adaptation of fluoride that happens naturally to a safe and recommended level for preventing tooth decay.


Fact: According to American Dental Association, fluoride toothpaste can protect our teeth from cavities, and fluoridated water is the extended protection of everyone’s teeth from decay.

There are cases in which the fluoride in our toothpaste is not enough. This is why some dentists and pediatricians would prescribe fluoride supplements, especially to children living in non-fluoridated places.

Fluoridation offers an easy, painful-free, inexpensive preventive strategy to prevent cavities and strengthen dental health that everyone can benefit from by simply drinking their water.


Fact: There are already questions from different countries around the world about the potential effects of high levels of fluoride on the intelligence and behavior of one’s person.

However, these studies were poorly designed, have gathered unreliable data and were not peer-reviewed by independent scientists. It is really difficult to conduct a study of human intelligence and behavior and finding the links of it to fluoride consumption might need stronger evidence.

Researchers and dental professionals who evaluated these studies also emphasized that the lower IQs caused by fluoride could be traced to other factors, such as arsenic exposure (This is long-term exposure to a chemical element, mainly through drinking-water and food) the burning of high-fluoride coal inside homes and the eating of contaminated grain.


Fact: According to the American Cancer Society, there is no link between cancer rates in humans and the optimal levels of fluoride in drinking water.

Community water fluoridation was introduced long before (as early as 1945). There have been 50 epidemiologic studies conducted over a period of time in different populations. And based on this research, there were numerous times that they have failed to show or prove a link between fluoride or water fluoridation and the risks of getting cancer.


Fact: Fluoride is not a medication. Just like the herbal supplements, these are not considered medications. These are supplements that can provide health benefits to your body helping you fight various diseases.

It is a natural element – a mineral; and when it is presented at the right controlled level, fluoride in drinking water has beneficial effects: preventing tooth decay. However, the most critical issue in maintaining healthy teeth is to have good oral hygiene and stay away from cavity-promoting food and drinks. Even with the presence of fluoride, if you consume sugar all day long, the risk of developing a cavity will be inevitable.

If you have questions about how you can optimally maintain your dental health, Dr. Stella Oh and Dr. Ash Estafan can help you. Book an appointment online or call us at our office. Madison Avenue Dentists aims to help you maintain proper dental care.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.