Fluoride and Health - Page 3

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Fluoride: What it’s Supposed to Do and What it Actually Does

The difference in the amount of fluoride in the water that could reduce decay and the amount that could cause fluorosis (a disease of the teeth where excessive fluoride causes staining, brittle enamel, and enamel pitting called mottling) is extraordinarily small. For example, if: 

  • The amount of fluoride in the water exceeds 0.7 to 1.2 parts per million (The lower amount is used in hotter climates where people tend to drink more water and the higher in cooler climates where less water is consumed.);
  • You drink lots of water (which many people do, especially active people);
  • You drink higher quantities of water during the short period of time that the enamel of your permanent teeth is forming; from about the age of 2 to 15; and
  • You receive fluoride from any other source, such as vegetables and sea food; then

You could develop flurosis.

What Fluoride Doesn’t Do for You

You will have a decent chance of reducing tooth decay if you had ideal amounts of fluoride during the time the tooth's enamel was forming. That's the good news. (Keep in mind that the most vulnerable area of the tooth to decay is the grooves of the back teeth; et this is the area that fluoride provides the least protection to.) 

But if:

  • Fluoride in the water exceeds 1.2 parts per million;
  • You drink more water than is considered average, such as what you’d drink on a hot day, or what an athlete would drink;
  • Consume fruits and vegetables grown in areas where the natural water content of fluoride is high or the water is fluoridate; and

You received extra fluoride from mouth washes, toothpaste, vitamins, or other sources; then

 You will most likely experience fluorosis and other side affects of fluoride poisoning. 

Fluoride Will Not Prevent Gum Disease

The truth is that fluoride doesn’t do anything to prevent gum disease and gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss; not decay as most people believe. Even if you received exactly the right amount of fluoride, over the right period of time, and you experienced reduced tooth decay; you would still have to properly brush your gums to prevent gum disease. So it doesn’t matter whether or not the water is fluoridated, you have to brush and floss your teeth in the same way, and just as often, to prevent gum disease as to prevent decay. Of course while you are taking care of your gums you would also be prevent tooth decaying, even if your water wasn’t fluoridated. The difference being that you can still effectively prevent all forms of dental disease if you have a sound oral hygienie program, but without risking the side effects of fluoride poisoning.