Fluoride is one of the most common additives found in city drinking water. About 63% of US citizens currently have fluoride in their tap water. It is used to fight cavities and prevent tooth decay, especially in children. Recently, studies have been conducted which question the validity of this purpose. It has been found in a study of 40,000 children, the children who grew up with fluoride in their drinking water did not have significantly healthier teeth than those who did not.
Some studies have also found that too much fluoride can lead to problems with the tooth enamel. If dental fluorosis occurs and the enamel does not crystallize correctly, the teeth can become brittle. The teeth may become pitted or chalky looking. They also can become more susceptible to staining. Even with dental insurance, the procedure to correct this damage can be quite expensive.
Too much fluoride can lead to non-tooth related problems as well. Some researchers believe based on their studies that fluoride ingestion can actually lower the I.Q. of children while they are still developing cognitively. This is a very worrisome finding. It also has been proven to cause digestive problems in some people.
Recently, fluoride has been tied to an increase in bone cancer in experimentation with rats. There were problems with this study since the rats were given fluoride in higher quantities than humans ingest relative to their body weight, however once fluoride enters the body, it is not secreted which means that the amount of fluoride in the body continually builds as people continue to drink city water. There has not yet been a study conducted which introduces rats to fluoride over a period of time more similar to humans to see if the body reacts differently to this, however the fact that there was a correlation between the amount of fluoride in the rats’ bodies and the development of bone cancer is very troubling.
Because of these problems with fluoride, and because many people find city water to have an unpleasant taste, many people choose to filter their water. This should not negatively affect the health of one’s teeth assuming he or she attends regular dental check-ups.
Fluoride is not only found in drinking water, but also in toothpaste. This is not as bad for health as the drinking water since people don’t actually swallow the toothpaste. Brushing and flossing teeth as recommended by a dentist is much more significant to the health of one’s teeth than drinking water with fluoride.
The most critical factor in good dental health is receiving frequent dental check-ups and cleanings as recommended by the dentist. To offset the cost of this, many families invest in dental insurance. The fact that children, or even adults, drink city water with added fluoride does not ensure the health of their teeth. Only a trained professional can do this. Purchasing dental insurance and visiting the dentist as recommended are some of the best things a family can do in order to ensure clean and healthy teeth.
Sally is a 29 year old writer with a passion for health and wellness, green-living and culinary arts. In her free time she enjoys playing with her two English bulldogs.