Dental Hygiene Month: Raising Awareness On The Health Risks Of Fluoride

October is one the most significant months in the dental industry. This October we are celebrating the Dental Hygiene Month. As dental professionals and hygienists, we consider this month as the best time of the year to raise awareness on different aspects of dental health as well as on its importance and the best ways to properly maintain oral hygiene. 

This year the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology or IAOMT focuses its campaign on raising awareness regarding the various health risks associated with the excessive consumption or use of fluoride. The IAOMT is a non-profit organization with more than 800 physicians, research professionals, and dentists. The recent studies revealed that lower IQs can be linked to fluoride exposure in utero. This is why this year's theme is considered especially timely.

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a natural mineral and an inorganic monatomic anion of fluorine that is found in all drinking water and in many foods. It is the simplest anion of fluorine and is one of the main components of dental hygiene products like toothpaste and mouthwash.

Positive effects of fluoride

Flouride provides a few benefits to dental health. It can help minimize the amount of acid produced by the bacteria on the teeth and it can likewise make the tooth enamel stronger and more resistant to tooth decay.

Negative effects of fluoride

An excessive amount of fluoride in the teeth, most especially during the teeth's developing stage, can cause dental fluorosis. This dental condition can occur either by swallowing toothpaste or by taking too much amount of fluoride supplements.

What is dental fluorosis?

Dental fluorosis is one of the most common dental problems and a major sign of fluoride toxicity. This dental issue can range from very mild to severe.

The mildest forms of dental fluorosis are usually almost invisible to the naked eye. Most of the time, they can only be spotted by dental experts who are using magnification optical aids like dental loupes and illumination device like the dental headlight. Most dentists use a dental loupe with a higher magnification power to see a larger image of the teeth and the entire oral cavity in general. This enables them to see clearly and closely even those tiny dental conditions that you cannot normally see when examining with just your bare eyes. 

Dental Loupe

The mild forms of dental fluorosis can appear as either a very fine flecking or pearly white lines on the teeth's surface. On the other hand, severe forms of dental fluorosis can lead to teeth discoloration. It can also cause the enamel to be pitted. The good news is, severe forms are rare.

Although we always say that brushing the teeth at least two times a day, once before going to bed and one more time any time of the day, is one of the best ways to keep your oral cavity healthy, dentists from around the world do not always recommend the use of dental products that contain a large amount of fluoride. In fact, some dentists are now questioning the supposed benefits that fluoride offers.


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