Back in 2009, the NHS decided to add fluoride to the drinking water in Southampton since there was a high rate of childhood tooth decay. However, this decision faced a huge backlash from the city’s residents. That, plus its high costs, caused the plan to be scrapped.
As you can guess, fluoride faces a bad reputation. So are you wondering: is fluoride bad for you?
Keep reading. We’ll explore the ins and outs of fluoride so you know everything about its health effects.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is considered a mineral and you can find it in your body; more specifically, in your teeth and bones. In addition, it’s naturally occurring in some foods, which means you probably get a dose of it just by having lunch.
Most places talk about artificially adding fluoride to the drinking water. But did you know fluoride is naturally occurring in all water sources? This means even if your municipality doesn’t add fluoride, you’re still getting a small amount of it whenever you drink a glass of water.
Is Fluoride Good For You?
The most important health benefit of fluoride is it can protect your teeth from decay, which may prevent the need for fillings. But how?
Well, for one, fluoride aids your teeth in enamel remineralisation, which is a process where vital minerals are reabsorbed into your teeth to keep them strong. This fights off harmful bacteria, which eat through your teeth and cause the need for fillings.
Also, fluoride keeps acid levels in your mouth down; this is the waste product from bacteria that feed on the sugar in your mouth. Acid also eats through your teeth, so this also prevents cavities.
Is Fluoride Bad For You?
Fluoride can be bad for you, but not in the ways you’d think. In general, it’s only bad if you get too much of it, and this is only really a problem if you’re an infant or child.
It is important though they don’t swallow too much. If children swallow too much fluoride, they may develop dental fluorosis, and with enough exposure, it can develop into skeletal fluorosis. For this reason, children under six can use a smear of lower dose fluoride toothpaste (1000ppm) when brushing their teeth.
There’s speculation that fluoride may be linked to certain cancers or other diseases, but there’s no hard, scientific evidence supporting those speculations. So rest assured that in general, fluoride is beneficial and harmless, so long as you watch your intake and monitor any children using toothpaste.
Bottom Line: Fluoride Is Good For Your Oral Health
So is fluoride bad for you? The resounding answer is “no.”
With its powerful and protective properties, fluoride is a substance definitely worth having around. So long as you take the proper precautions to prevent fluorosis, then your entire family can benefit from fluoride’s cavity-preventing abilities.
Overdue for a dental visit? Then book an appointment with us today! If you have a dental emergency, then we’ll strive to see you within 24 hours.