Is Fluoride Good or Bad?

You will have probably heard a debate on whether fluoride is good or bad for you by now. The debate has been highly polarised this past few years and has resulted in simplistic, often emotional viewpoints.

Fluoride is a mineral which is found naturally in some food and water. Low levels of Fluoride are naturally present in most mineral waters and are also often added to potable water to reduce the level of tooth decay. Fluoride is used in toothpastes and mouthwashes for this reason. 

Bacterial infections of the gums causing unpleasant symptoms of bleeding and sore gums, also known as gingivitis, can usually be treated and reversed by a good toothpaste and a careful oral hygiene routine. 

But with the world of facts and opinions so accessible on the internet, it is hard to decide whether or not you should be using a toothpaste with fluoride or without. 

Fluoride has caused some concerns over potential negative health effects, especially with regards to the fluoridation of water supplies. 

Let’s get to know the facts. 

What does Fluoride do for your teeth? 

Fluoride works by depositing itself on the surface on your teeth, which is known as remineralisation. These fluoride deposits make your teeth stronger and more resistant to damage from acid and sugars from your diet, as well as plaque bacteria which causes your teeth to lose minerals, a process called demineralisation. 

Where is Fluoride found? 

The UK has preventative measures in their drinking water to fight against tooth decay. This can be a controversial topic but science points towards it being a positive thing for our oral health. Dentists can also apply fluoride in a varnish or foam form topically to your teeth during your appointment which gives the protective mineral layer of your teeth a boost. 

Is Fluoride Safe? 

There is no scientific evidence to suggest fluoride isn’t safe through the quantities  you ingest through drinking water, toothpastes, mouthwashes and occasional treatments at the dentist. Like most minerals, a large amount can be toxic, so excessive doses which would be unlikely to occur by accident would be the only reason to class it as unsafe.

Overall, extensive research into using fluoride to prevent tooth decay and to maintain healthy gums has shown that it is safe and effective.  The small amounts of Fluoride, released slowly over time, can have only a therapeutic benefit of resistance to acid attack. The positive benefits outweigh the negligible and debatable risks. 

Given the evidence, I think it is safe to state that fluoride levels used in toothpastes,mouthwashes,mineral water and mains water supplies are not only safe but also beneficial. 

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