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What Are the Benefits and Dangers of Fluoride?

Posted on 2/20/2023 by Mark Bieber
What Are the Benefits and Dangers of Fluoride?Fluoride is an essential mineral that is naturally obtained from water, soil, rock, and foods. It is also synthesized in mouthwashes, toothpaste, drinking water, and other chemical products. Fluoride is also added to public water supplies by water authorities in different countries through fluoridation. It has numerous benefits to your dental health. However, fluoride also has some adverse effects.

Advantages of Fluoride

Fluoride helps to strengthen the enamel and prevent dental caries. Fluoridated water or fluoride supplements significantly reduce tooth decay in adults, children, and infants. This is done by mineralizing the teeth and preventing bacterial growth.

When fluoride comes in contact with the teeth, it creates fluorapatite material that aids in mineralizing the teeth. The fluorapatite makes the teeth resistant to damage caused by bacteria, drinks, and foods. Also, fluoride decreases bacterial overgrowth that causes tooth decay. It lowers the mouth's pH level, inhibiting the growth of various oral bacteria.

Disadvantages of Fluoride

Even though fluoride has many benefits, it still has some side effects, primarily when used excessively. First, fluoride causes dental fluorosis, which are brown flecks or white spots on your teeth's surface. Although fluorosis is not dangerous to the teeth, it can cause pitted tooth enamel and discolored teeth.

Another disadvantage of excess fluoride is that it leads to an uncommon condition known as skeletal fluorosis, which makes bones more fragile and joints stiffness, increasing bone fractures. In addition, excess fluoride causes acute fluoride toxicity that leads to nausea, diarrhea, stomach upset, and vomiting. In children, acute fluoride toxicity is life-threatening. Therefore, ensure you don't consume excess fluoride to avoid all these adverse side effects.

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