Fluoride in water pros and cons
Remember when we were still studying that our teachers and dentists would insist that fluoride is good for your teeth to protect you from tooth decay? That idea is still accepted nowadays; however, there are studies now that contradict that thought. We were taught that using fluoridated toothpaste is good for the teeth and consuming fluoride water helps protect your tooth enamel, but now scientists, and even dentists relay information that the addition of fluoride in tubes of toothpaste and drinking water may pose harm to our dental health. Let us tackle the use of fluoride in our dental health and understand fluoride in water pros and cons to determine if it is generally good or dangerous for our health.
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is one of the most abundant elements in the world. It is part of the top 20 elements you can find naturally and artificially in soil, water, and food. It is found out that if you add fluoride to drinking water and dental essentials like toothpaste and mouth rinses, it will promote better dental health. Fluoride helps in protecting the teeth from decay and cavities by strengthening and remineralizing the surface of the tooth or enamel .
Fluoride in water pros and cons
If the earlier days would view fluoride, you would only hear good things about it. But now that many conditions are being researched on and some of them are pointing towards fluoride as a contributing factor, questions about fluoride in water pros and cons begin to emerge.
Benefits of fluoride in water
Strengthens the tooth enamel. The enamel is the outermost coat or surface of the teeth. If plaque and dental caries buildup would come about, your tooth enamel will be the first one to get damaged. Dentists began to suggest and recommend adding procedures like fluoride varnish or fluoride rinsing to dental procedures you need as a kid to strengthen the enamel and protect them from decay.
Increases bone density. Fluoride is first and foremost a natural mineral, so the thought of exposing our teeth to this somewhat harmless element sounds more beneficial than detrimental. It helps make bones stronger, like adding more calcium fluoride in the bones. If we use dental products with fluoride like toothpaste, mouthwash, and even our drinking water, it is thought that not only will it strengthen our teeth, it can also strengthen and make our bones denser in structure.
Risks of fluoride in water pros and cons
Dental fluorosis. This condition is described as having permanent stains on the baby and permanent teeth due to overexposure to fluoride. This is ironic because we thought fluoride is good for our teeth, yet excessive use of this mineral can cause cosmetic dental problems too. This problem may be aesthetic in nature, but doctors say that some teens who have dental fluorosis are affected by it psychologically. Teens tend to get embarrassed and shy to smile or speak in public with mottled teeth, so instances of anxiety, depression, and lack of strong interpersonal relationships or interactions may be indirectly caused by fluoride use.
Skeletal fluorosis. Remember the part where we mentioned fluoride can also strengthen other bones in our body by drinking fluoridated water? Well, instead of protecting our bones, some scientists believe that fluoride does nothing in nourishing our bones. Instead, it causes skeletal fluorosis, described as too much hardening of the bones, losing its elastic component, and increasing the chance of fracture.
Thyroid problems. Well, the parathyroid gland to be exact. Hormones secreted by our parathyroid glands manage and control our calcium in the body, particularly in the bones. So if the parathyroid is damaged, there may be a risk that calcium deposits in the bones become affected, leading to increased risks of fracture.
Neurologic conditions. Some parents who exposed their kids at an early age in fluoride by using fluoride varnishes and fluoridated toothpaste and water would complain that studies showed their children have lower IG scores than other kids with lesser exposure to the mineral. Some studies even regard fluoride as a neurotoxin, the same description they gave dangerous elements like lead, arsenic, and mercury.