Fluoride Day Date in the current year: January 25, 2024

Fluoride Day Fluoride Day, sometimes referred to as National Fluoride Day, is observed annually on January 25. It was crated to raise awareness of the importance of fluoride for dental health.

Fluoride is an anion of fluorine, a chemical element that is most commonly found in minerals that make up Earth’s crust. Pure fluorine is a highly toxic and extremely reactive gas; due to its reactivity, fluorine does not naturally occur in its gas form. Fluoride ions are naturally present in several minerals (fluorite, fluorapatite, cryolite) and in groundwater, freshwater, saltwater, and rainwater.

The link between fluoride and dental health was first established by American dentist Frederick McKay in the early 20th century. While practicing in the Colorado area, he noticed that the teeth of many of his patients had strange brown spots on them and that those who had these spots were surprisingly resistant to tooth decay. After many years of research, McKay figured out that the spots and resistance to cavities were caused by unusually high fluoride levels in drinking water.

Another American dentist, Henry Trendley Dean, continued McKay’s research and took it to a new level. He and his team determined optimal concentration of fluoride in drinking water that would help prevent cavities while causing minimal staining of the tooth enamel (dental fluorosis). This discovery led to the adoption of a practice called water fluoridation: the controlled adjustment of fluoride levels in a public water supply to reduce tooth decay.

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), water fluoridation leads to fewer and less severe cavities, reduces pain and suffering associated with dental caries, and results in less need for tooth fillings and extractions. The CDC even referred to water fluoridation as “one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century”; today nearly 73% of Americans have access to fluoridated water.

Although relatively common in the Unite States, water fluoridation is not widely accepted worldwide (as of 2012, about 5.4% of the global population received fluoridated water), but there are alternative sources of fluoride for tooth decay prevention. Most modern toothpastes contain some amount of fluoride; those with high fluoride content are typically marketed as fluoridated toothpastes. Fluoride can also be found in mouth rinses, professionally applied gels, foams and varnishes, and medical supplements such as lozenges, tablets and liquids.

Is there any danger associated with drinking fluoridated water or using fluoridated dental care products? While fluoride overexposure can cause dental fluorosis in children, it is relatively easy to prevent by avoiding fluoridated toothpastes if you have access to fluoridated water and using the right amount of toothpaste.

The origins of Fluoride Day are unclear, but the holiday has been celebrated for years and is promoted by dental health organizations, dentists, and toothpaste manufacturers. You can celebrate it by learning more about the benefits of fluoride and fluoridated water for dental health, buying dental care products with fluoride, and spreading the word on social media with the hashtag #FluorideDay.

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Fluoride Day, unofficial observances, observances in the United States, fluoridated water, fluoride and dental health