Even after many decades of fluoridated water supply in the US, there’s still controversy. The effect of this compound on public health has witnessed strong views, both adverse and otherwise. From freedom of choice issues to scientific research, everything boils down to: Is fluoride harmful to you? Here’s everything you should know about fluoride.
When fluorine combines with a metal, a new compound, fluoride, takes birth. The levels of fluoride found in air, soil, and water are different. Almost all natural water sources have fluoride. Even in animal and plant food sources, a small amount of this compound exists.
In the human body, fluorides travel down through the digestive tract and get absorbed in the blood. While in blood, fluorides collect at areas of dense calcium like teeth and bones. Thus, oral health is majorly affected by high concentrations of fluoride in water.
Fluoride In Drinking Water
In 1945, fluoridated water supplies began in some parts of the United States. The system administrator noticed that areas with slightly fluoridated drinking water saw fewer people with tooth cavities. The public health service (US) declared that adding small amounts of fluoride in water will prevent tooth decay.
Presently, three out of four Americans have fluoride in their drinking water supplies. Sodium fluorosilicate, sodium fluoride, and fluorosilicic acid are among the types. Naturally occurring levels of fluoride in water sources are higher in some places than others.
What Are The Benefits Of Fluoride?
Fluoride certainly affects our oral health. In the brighter light, it fights cavities by balancing the loss of tooth enamel and mineral gain. According to the American dental association, fluoride toothpaste shows positive results.
Moreover, it can inhibit the activity of harmful bacteria (oral) and prevent tooth decay. But these benefits of fluoride are attainable only by using the compound in a small amount.
There is an increased risk of dental fluorosis in children who swallow fluoride toothpaste. It is a disease that occurs with developing teeth, marked by white spots in mild cases. But consumption of high concentrations for long results in weakened teeth with brown stains.
Other Harmful Effects Of Fluoride
The intake of fluoride in various forms has been a topic of debate. According to studies, compounds of fluorine can harm public health in many ways. These include bone fractures, impaired brain development, and a high risk of cancer.
Since high concentrations of fluoride weaken bones, there is an increased risk of fracture. Research in China concluded that very low or very high levels of naturally occurring fluorides are dangerous. A safe amount of fluoride in drinking water is one ppm.
In young males, osteosarcoma is a bone cancer that occurs because of excessive fluoride intake. However, the relation between this compound in water sources and cancers is yet to be studied.
While the American dental association encourages using fluoride toothpaste, there’s more to the story. When taken in small amounts, whether in water or toothpaste, fluoride is brilliant.
But, again, the excess of everything is harmful, so are higher levels of fluoride. Therefore, it’s vital to ensure only a limited amount of this compound enters our body.