Is Fluoride Safe to Use?
There is much controversy on the topic of fluoride. While we know that fluoride prevents tooth decay and remineralizes teeth, there are also concerns by certain parties.
The Science of Fluoridation
Firstly, there are several international health agencies and dental associations have endorsed water fluoridation as safe and effective at preventing tooth decay.
There are a minority of scientists and medical professionals who oppose water fluoridation, citing that it violates modern pharmacological principles and does not take into account individual response to fluoridation.
Both sides of the argument have very well-researched data by experts in the field to back their claims. So how should we approach this?
Looking at Sublingual or Buccal medication administration, we know that what we put into our mouths will be absorbed by the tissues in our mouth and gums which will ultimately affect the rest of the body through our bloodstream. Therefore a approach to this is to break down the question of “is fluoride safe?” into two parts:
- The impact of fluoride in the mouth
- The impact of fluoride in the rest of the body
Part 1: The impact of fluoride in the mouth
Fluoride is commonly used in dentistry as a compound called fluor-apatite or fluoroapatite. This compound resists decay better than our natural teeth by enhancing remineralization before dental carries (aka cavities) are formed. Also, fluoride when applied to our teeth destroys the enzymes of bacteria responsible for tooth decay.
However, experts who speak against the use of fluoride point out that harder-than-natural teeth aren’t necessarily better.
Part 2: The impact of fluoride in the rest of the body
In short: there are no upsides to the rest of the body.
Fluoride has been classified as a neurotoxin by medical journals, including The Lancet. The researched published in 2014 suggested that ” Untested chemicals should not be presumed to be safe to brain development, and chemicals in existing use and all new chemicals must therefore be tested for developmental neurotoxicity”.
There is also a study at Harvard University that showedthat it is possible for fluoride to cross the placenta into the system of developing foetuses in pregnant women. The result of which is lower IQ scores in children.
It should be mentioned here that the World Health Organization recommends a fluoride level of 0.5 to 1.0mg/L (milligrams per litre) in water.Any amounts in higher concentration may cause health problems.
In 2015, the United States Health and Human Services Department revised the recommended fluoride levels to a maximum of 0.7 mg/L in order to reduce the occurrence of dental fluorosis.
Since a majority of our readership is from Singapore, you might be interested to know that Singapore was the first Asian country to institute a water fluoridation program that covered 100% of the population, and has a typical fluoridation value of 0.4-0.6 mg/L.
The research behind the proposed benefits of water fluoridation is more widely varied in their opinion of the benefits. Our recommendation is to use a filtration system for drinking water, but and replace your filters regularly.