Fluoride in Water – Is it Safe?

fluorideFluoride – an element that has been causing controversy for at least a decade now. Utilized in most toothpastes, dental treatments, and even in drinking water, fluoride is thought to be one of the best ways to counter tooth decay. It has also garnered some negative attention in the media, so let’s explore just what it is good for and where these controversies come from.

Fluoride is found in our natural environment, from soil to air, it is literally all around us. Adapting it to work for our own benefit has become something quite common place.

There are two main ways we look to fluoride as a way to maintain healthy teeth. One is to apply the fluoride topically to the teeth – this is through toothpastes, mouthwashes and flouride treatments during dental cleaning visits. The other way is more systemic, and that is where ingesting it through tap water comes into play.

Why is it good for the teeth? It is an important mineral that the body utilizes to prevent plaque from adhering to enamel. In the various developmental stages of children, fluoride actually mixes with enamel as the teeth develop and aids against decay. Studies found that communities who add fluoride to their tap water ultimately see populations of children with less tooth decay.

It isn’t just good for kids though, it is also beneficial for teeth after they have finished developing. Fluoride mixes with saliva and again works with the enamel of the teeth to aid against decay.

So with all of the good things fluoride has to offer, why is it that we hear controversy surrounding its usage? It isn’t wrong to be aware, and even weary, about adding minerals to the body. In fact, questioning things like fluoride in your tap water is a healthy approach to being aware of your own health.

At one point, it was thought that fluoride had some link to thyroid cancer. There is no concrete evidence to support this, however, and was sensationalized by media and alternative health practitioners. There are conditions associated with gaining too much fluoride, like fluorosis. This condition presents as tiny white marks on enamel, but isn’t associated with tap water or tooth brushing necessarily. In fact it can occur in communities that do not add fluoride to their tap water. Most common in developing children, it takes a serious excess of fluoride over a very long period of time to occur. In essence, not likely to happen with toothbrushing and tap water alone.

Fluoride has a long standing positive reputation in aiding against the tooth decay. It is backed by countless studies and has always delivered positive results that are convincing of its benefits to our dental health. If you have any further questions or curiosities about fluoride, feel free to ask our team the next time you are in for a visit!