Fluoride: Beneficial or Detrimental? A Comprehensive Look
Fluoride is the negative ion of the fluorine element, denoted as F. Naturally occurring, it can be found in air, plants, soil, fresh water, rocks, seawater, and many foods. Remarkably, 99% of the body’s fluoride is stored in bones and teeth. It not only strengthens bones but also prevents cavities. Its usefulness has led to its addition in municipal water in several countries.
Is Fluoride Beneficial for Teeth?
The majority believe that the benefits of fluoride, which can reduce tooth decay by up to 25%, overshadow its risks. However, caution should be exercised for children under 12. Fluoride treatments are available at dental clinics and involve the use of gel, foam, or varnish. Posttreatment, eating or drinking should be avoided for at least 30 minutes to maximize fluoride absorption.
Fluoride in Toothpaste: A Concern?
While fluoride in toothpaste is not harmful if spat out, its consumption is fraught with debates. The addition of fluoride to public water supplies, which began in the U.S. in the 1940s, has sparked controversies over its effectiveness, ethics, and potential health implications. Approximately 70% of the U.S. population currently receives fluoridated water, whereas its use is sparse in Europe due to health concerns.
Fluoride's Impact on Brain Health
Research suggests that fluoride accumulates in the hippocampus, a crucial brain region for memory. Some animal studies hint at potential learning and memory challenges due to this accumulation, fueling speculations about its detrimental effects on human brains. However, a direct link remains elusive.
Is Fluoride Safe for Babies?
The Poison Debate
The efficacy of fluoride lies in its dosage. While it’s beneficial in small amounts, ingestion in larger quantities can be detrimental, especially in regions with naturally high fluoride levels. Using it judiciously in toothpaste and spitting it out poses no threat. However, concerns arise when it’s consumed through water. For those wary of fluoridated water, specialized water filters can be the solution.
Top Water Filters to Consider
- Removes up to 90% arsenic.
- Fluoride by 91.8% (without additional filters).
- 4 stage filter process.
Big Berkey (With Special Fluoride Filters)
- Removes arsenic and fluoride by 99.9% (with specialized filters).
- 2 stage filter process.
- Holds up to 6 gallons, filtering 3.5 gallons per hour.
- European Commission. Critical review on fluoride’s health implications, 2011.
- Peckham, S., & Awofeso, N. (2014). Water Fluoridation: A Critical Review.
- Jiang S, et al. (2014). Impact of Fluoride and Arsenic on hippocampus in rats.