sugar on blue plateBy now we all know that sugar spurs tooth decay. We’ve all also heard that fluoride prevents cavities. But what a lot of folks don’t know is that only part of what we think we know is actually so.

Backing up the claim that sugar leads to decay, a recent Finnish study notes that, among adults, there is

a linear dose-response relationship between sugars and caries, with the amount of intake being more important than frequency of ingestion.

Which is to say, the more sugar you eat, the more decay you get.

We restate the obvious because for the most part, we’ve been sold a bill of goods when it comes to decay. We’ve been told through American Dental Association endorsements on fluoride-containing products, in dental offices, and TV ads that fluoride prevents cavities. But the truth is, there is little good, contemporary evidence that fluoridation stops decay.

The Finnish study reiterates what biological dental offices know:

Dental caries is considered a diet-mediated disease, as sugars are essential in the caries process.

We, as humans, are not lacking fluoride. From white sugar, corn syrup, honey, and other sweeteners, to wheat-, corn-, and rice-based foods, we’re eating too much sugar or foods that convert to sugar. Like so many drug-based claims, the belief that fluoride will prevent decay gives us permission to continue habits that diminish health. It is a temporary stay of consequences – at best.

As a biological office, we see the reliance on fluoride as a disservice to patients. This trained reliance distracts us from daily habits and choices that are health-affirming, swapping them for a panacea with side effects that will, over time, erode oral and systematic health alike.

Framing decay more effectively means understanding that it’s first a dietary issue, then a hygiene issue, and ultimately a lifestyle issue.

Addressing decay and its prevention effectively and honestly means entering into a trusting relationship where you explore options that empower you to act in your own best interest.

We’re always here for you, whether you need guidance addressing dietary choices and making changes to support natural tooth remineralization, learning effective cleaning techniques, or curtailing lifestyle habits that can affect oral and systematic health.

To achieve a healthy dental future, you don’t need fluoride. You need a team that supports your desire to reach your personal level of optimal oral health.

Image by Lcarsdata, via Wikimedia Commons

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