The Truth About Fluoride and Dental Hygiene

The Truth About Fluoride and Dental Hygiene


In the proper dosage, fluoride can be an integral part of your oral health, offering key dental benefits. However, in large enough concentrations, as with any mineral, fluoride can be harmful. However, the concentrations of fluoride found in tap water are nowhere near harmful concentrations.

The history of fluoride, and determining its necessity, was decades in the making and took years of scientific research in order to reach where we are today. Let’s take a look at what fluoride is and why our teeth need it.

The History Of Fluoride

Fluoride being introduced into public water supplies came about on the heels of, what experts still call, a ‘gigantic’ scientific breakthrough. In the early 20th century, dental caries, otherwise known as cavities, were ravaging much of the United States. As more resources were divested into understanding the problem, a hypothesis emerged from anecdotal evidence that certain towns or areas with fluoride in their water showed better oral and dental health.

This led to a 15-year study known as the Grand Rapids Fluoridation Study that proved that fluoride, in the right amounts, helps strengthen enamel and decrease cavity rates by a then-reported 60%

What Exactly Does Fluoride Do For Teeth? 

Since that study, more research has been done to understand the mechanism of fluoride for dental health. On a chemical level, there are three things fluoride does for teeth.

  1. Helps Repair Teeth — Fluoride helps promote remineralization, basically repairing the structure of your teeth through the use of vital minerals
  2. Helps Prevent Tooth Decay — Not only does fluoride repair through remineralization, but it also stops demineralization, the process by which necessary minerals found in enamel are stripped away or otherwise lost. This loss can happen due to poor oral care, acidic foods, or even infections.
  3. Stops Harmful Bacteria —By chemically inhibiting bacterial function, fluoride prevents harmful bacteria from eroding your teeth or causing infections.

How Do I Know If I’m Getting Enough Fluoride? 

A common sign of low fluoride intake is frequent cavity formations. If you’re routinely suffering from cavities, you may need to think about introducing fluoride for your dental health. Thankfully, an introduction of toothpastes with fluoride or drinking fluoridated water can help. In some extreme cases, low levels of fluoride can lead to brittle or weak bones.

Dr. Wiitala and our dedicated team can help you improve your oral health through personalized treatment. Fluoride treatments given by trained professionals like Dr. Wiitala can strengthen your enamel and help prevent cavities and other problems. If you’re experiencing tooth pain or notice black spots on your teeth, you need to seek dental care right away. Visit to schedule an appointment. You can also call our Scottsdale, AZ, dental office at 480-657-6081.