Ever since small traces of fluoride have been added to drinking water in the 1940s, there has been opposition. The potential health risks have led to multiple studies about the safety of fluoride in drinking water.
Many countries, including the US, infuse a small amount of fluoride into public drinking water. The amount put into drinking water is not to exceed .7 parts per million, an amount that is said to help prevent cavities while also being safe for one’s health.
Fluoride is a dangerous compound when ingested in high quantities consistently over a long period of time. In a few extreme cases people have been hospitalized and died as a result of fluoride poisoning. In these cases, individuals ingested an amount of fluoride that is significantly higher than the maximum amount required by the US government.
While many scientific studies have confirmed the safety of fluoride in drinking water, there are still some that oppose the forced consumption of a potentially dangerous chemical. Fluoride has been suspected as causing negative impacts of the functioning of the brain, liver, penal gland, thyroid gland, heart, kidneys and seminal vesicles and the structure of bone tissue. Fluoride is feared to impact sensory, learning, motor and memory. The most noticeable risk of fluoride in water is a condition called fluorosis, whereby too much fluoride exposure causes white splotches on the surface of teeth and compromises their health and ability fight decay.
Opponents of fluorination in drinking water call it unnecessary and its widespread forced use puts vulnerable populations like young children and the elderly at risk. With toothpastes, mouthwashes and certain foods and drinks containing fluoride, opponents to fluoride think there is now a heightened risk of fluoride poisoning.
The most recent study conducted concerning the safety of fluoride use, however, indicates that the small amount of fluoride in drinking water results in no adverse health side effects. This recent study comes after a 2016 study whereby it was concluded that fluorinated drinking water yielded “low to moderate level of evidence” that fluoride had adverse effects on memory and learning. The 2016 study, however, subjected the animal subjects to levels higher than the required .7 parts per million.
The study, with findings taken from those done by the health departments of European countries such as England and Ireland, concluded that fluorinated water is a safe and effective way to help prevent the risk of cavities amongst the diverse demographics of the public. Samples of children were taken to compare their rate of cavities. The children drinking fluoride infused water experienced no adverse health side effects and had a rate of cavities similar to those in other countries who don’t add fluoride into their drinking water.
Despite the latest findings, it is likely that the debate of fluoride safety will continue. More and more patients and dentists are turning to fluoride free dental care for precautionary safety measures.
When looking for a dentist, we highly encourage patients to find dentists who share their views on the use of fluoride.
Ingesting fluoride in your water, however, isn’t enough to fully prevent cavities. Adequate at-home oral hygiene and regular, six-month visits to the dentist offer better prevention of tooth decay and gum disease.
If it has been more than six months since your last dental cleaning and check-up, contact us at Lincoln Dental Associates today to schedule an appointment.
What is your take on the use of fluoride in drinking water and other dental care products?