Last Updated on 9 months by Isreal Olabanji DST RN
Fluoride is a mineral known for its ability to strengthen our tooth enamel and improve our oral health — but is it really all it’s cracked up to be?
While its benefits are scientifically proven, there are concerns that fluoride may have links to a range of general health problems. Read on to find out more.
Sources of Fluoride
The primary source of fluoride in the UK is in the drinking water being drawn from millions of taps across the country every day.
According to the UK’s National Health Service, approximately 5.8 million people in England receive fluoridated water.
It was first added to the UK’s drinking water in 1964 and even earlier in the U.S. The first water fluoridation scheme launched in America in 1945.
Before long, fluoride found its way into toothpaste products as a way to further improve our standard of oral health.
Dentists prescribe fluoride varnish treatments to help prevent tooth decay. The treatment is typically administered to children aged 3 and above.
If you would like to know more about fluoride and how it can benefit your oral health, speak to your dentist. If you are not currently registered with a dentist, you can find one near you by searching online — for example, “Amersham dental care.”
- Are There Any Benefits of Using Fluoride-Free Toothpaste?
According to dental experts, there are no known benefits of using this kind of toothpaste for the average adult. Such products exist purely for use by very young children and those with fluoride allergies.
Doctors may also recommend a fluoride-free toothpaste for patients suffering from certain medical conditions.
The reason why dentists recommend a fluoride-free toothpaste for infants is that they are more likely to swallow toothpaste while brushing.
Swallowing fluoride toothpaste while the adult teeth are still forming in the jaw can lead to a condition called dental fluorosis.
Dental fluorosis causes the teeth to become misshapen, discolored, and rough in texture. In some cases, children may develop specks, spots, or streaks on their permanent teeth, which can be white, brown, grey, or black.
Fluorosis can be avoided by using a fluoride-free toothpaste until a child is old enough to understand they must spit toothpaste out after brushing.
Facts About Fluoride
- It is found naturally in water all over the world — just not in a high enough concentration to benefit our oral health.
- Research into the oral health benefits of fluoride began in 1901. They were scientifically proven in 1944.
- The level of fluoride in our drinking water is highly regulated to avoid the development of dental fluorosis.
- Many countries do not add fluoride to their water. For example, 97% of the population of western Europe still drink non-fluoridated water.
- It is the only chemical added to water for purposes other than treating it to make it portable and safe for humans to drink.
- Further studies into fluoride have shown there is no need to ingest it to experience its benefits. Fluoride must simply come into contact with the teeth to strengthen enamel.
Is Fluoridated Drinking Water Safe?
The presence of fluoride in our drinking water is a highly contentious issue, fiercely debated by those who champion its benefits and others who have grave concerns about its effects on other parts of our body.
- Link Between Water Fluoridation and Cancer
A study carried out by the National Toxicology Program in the early 1990s found high levels of fluoride in water increased the risk of bone cancer in male rats.
However, subsequent tests on both humans and animals have found no link between fluoridated drinking water and the risk of developing cancer.
- Fluoride Consumption Linked to Diabetes?
In 2016, a study conducted by the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine indicated that fluoride — a known preservative of blood glucose — may be responsible for the rise in the number of diabetes cases between 2005 and 2010.
- Fluoride and Heart Disease
There have been several studies carried out to investigate links between fluoride and the increased risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.
A 2012 study found that those who drank more fluoridated water were more likely to develop atherosclerosis, a build-up of plaque in the arteries.
Decades later, fluoridated water remains a hot topic. There is a vast amount of information — and misinformation — available about this topic, its benefits, and its risks. If you have questions or concerns, speak to your doctor or dentist.
Many medical experts say there are too many statistical variables to prove that fluoride is harmful to our health. Until then, for those who have it, fluoridated drinking water is here to stay.
Author Bio –
Written by Bryan, from York House Dentists in Chesham & Amersham, the practice maintains and improves smiles for nearly 30 years with a comforting combination of expertise, experience, and exceptional standards. For more details feel free to visit https://www.yorkhousedentists.co.uk
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