Flouride use has been controversial over the years. Some claim that it is toxic to the human body while others see it as an essential component for healthy teeth.
Intake of fluoride is quite common due to its role in preventing tooth decay. For a long time, people have been adding it to drinking water. Adding fluoride to water is said to help in strengthening the enamel of the teeth, prevent tooth loss, tooth decay, and cavities.
Sources of fluoride include drinking fluoridated water, taking supplements containing the mineral or using fluoride toothpaste.
However, questions are now arising over the safety of fluoride. Countries with high natural fluoride levels are putting effort to remove the fluoride because of the increase in health problems, attributed to fluoride. Due to these concerns, health programs are now evaluating fluoride effects on health.
Below are some of the pros and cons of fluoride.
Dentists may recommend that you use fluoride toothpaste or drink fluoridated water if you have a high risk of cavities, dry mouth, or sensitivity.
Flouride supports remineralization of teeth, enabling it to heal cavities. It is also able to rebuild weakened teeth, making them stronger.
Prevent Tooth Decay
Water fluoridation has proved to be very useful in preventing tooth decay in children. When one drinks water, the fluoride present washes over the teeth and in the process, it gets absorbed by the enamel, preventing decay.
If your tap water does not contain fluoride, then it would be wise to talk to your dentist to advise you on how best you can benefit from other fluoride sources.
Cause Dental Fluorosis
Both children and adults exposed to areas with a high concentration of fluoride are at risk of getting dental fluorosis. It occurs as tiny white specks in the enamel of the child’s tooth. What results from this is tooth discoloration.
For this reason, children need to be supervised to ensure they do not use fluoride toothpaste or intake excessive fluoride water at these early stages. Parents of newborns are advised not to use fluoridated water when reconstituting formula for their infants.
Presence of these discolorations strongly shows the problem of excessive fluoride ingestion, which comes with other severe issues such as stomach pains and indigestion. One is, therefore, advised to look out for such signs and act accordingly.
Research shows that excessive fluoride intake can cause damage to the parathyroid gland. This can cause hyperparathyroidism, a situation where there is uncontrolled secretion of parathyroid hormone, causing low calcium levels in the bone structure.
Low thyroid in the body also causes irregular bowel functions, weight gain, heart diseases, brain fog, and fatigue in individuals.
Excess fluoride use is associated with weakened bones, and especially the hip joints. It causes a bone disease called skeletal fluorosis. This causes pain and damage to the bones such that the bones harden and become less elastic, increasing the risk of fractures occurring. In a situation where the bones thicken, and bone tissues accumulate, the risk of impaired joints becomes higher.
Research done shows that when high doses of fluoride were used on patients with osteoporosis, in a bid to harden their bones and minimize the fracture rates, the rates of fractures occurring increased.
Another research showed that low-level fluoride exposure in girls might have a detrimental effect on cortical bone density.
There have been concerns about the effects of fluoride intake on the brain for a long time. Research shows that prenatal and postnatal exposure to the mineral leads to low attention or cognition in individuals.
Excess fluoride intake may cause one’s body to absorb more aluminum, which causes brain degradation. For this reason, diseases such as Alzheimer disease continue to increase.
Other studies suggest that fluoride may affect sleep, neurotransmitter levels, and circadian rhythms, affecting overall health.
Fluoride intake has both its pros and cons and because of this, many people may find themselves stranded on whether to use it or not. Due to the dangers that come with using fluoride, it is always good to seek advice from your dentist to know whether there are alternative options for you.
However, using it in the right amount will help prevent dental issues. Some consider it similar to adding vitamins to food.