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The Fluoride Debate Goes International

Here in the United States, many communities are at odds over a common ingredient in many water supplies and oral health products: fluoride. Whether its added to your community’s water supply or simply added to your toothpaste, many people are unsure about the ingredient, and are either for it or against it. Those who are for it say it strengthens the teeth and reduces cavities – facts which have been proven time and time again. Those who are against it cite concerns with ingesting it, and what that could do to the rest of the body.

Elsewhere across the globe, the debate over fluoride isn’t much different. A recent article in online journal “The Conversation,” recently examined the effects the lack of fluoride in natural toothpastes is having on the population of New Zealand.

It seems that among some of the wealthier New Zealanders, natural toothpaste has become a bit of a trend, with upwards of 7 percent of all adults and children in the country now using natural, fluoride-free toothpaste. Unfortunately that has translated to another problem: more cavities.

Cavities are a big problem across the globe. According to “The Conversation,” tooth decay affects 2.4 billion people around the world annually. This can lead to problems like missed school, missed work and more. In New Zealand, it costs a staggering $1billion NZ each year to treat. Unfortunately, the article suggests at least some of those going fluoride free may not even realize their toothpaste isn’t fluoridated, as many natural products do not always clearly state they are fluoride free.

So what does that mean for us here in the United States? Should we be using fluoridated toothpaste?

The good news is its up to you whether or not you choose to use fluoridated toothpaste. Fluoridated toothpaste does help reduce cavities, and can help your teeth stay strong, but fluoride free toothpaste options are always available. If you are unsure if your toothpaste contains fluoride, visit the manufacturer website or check with your dentist. If you are noticing more cavities at your checkup, check your toothpaste’s ingredients to see if you are indeed using a fluoridated toothpaste, and if you need a recommendation, speak to Dr. Peterson.

No matter what side of the fluoride debate you land on, remember that protecting your teeth is an important goal, and the better care you take of them, the less likely you will need to make costly and painful repairs and restorations down the road.

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Posted in: Dental Health, Dental News

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