What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is basically a compound that is naturally existing and very common to the environment. It is usually found in almost everywhere – water, soil, plants, rocks, and sometimes even in the air we breathe.
According to the aspects of Chemistry, the said chemical is the negative ion of fluorine that is usually bounded to an alkyl group. It is monoatomic and inorganic anion with salts that are usually colorless and odorless. Typically, the said salts have a very distinguishing taste caused by its bitterness.
Fluoride can also be found in our bones and teeth. It is well known to help prevent and even regress the early development of dental decay.
Scientists have studied and shown that the chemical asserts the oral health in two ways: when it is taken in, it helps the development of the teeth and makes it more durable and; when it is applied to the enamel or to the very surface of the teeth, it helps rebuild, remineralize, and strengthen the surface of the teeth.
It also prevents the acid produced from bacteria that reside in tartars and plaques from demineralizing the enamels of the teeth.
In some ways, fluoride has increased its popularity for a lot of manufacturers. It has become the main medium in creating most dental products due to its oral health benefits. And since a lot of experts have proven its positive effects on people, companies such as Colgate and other big personalities encourage the community to use products with the standard amount of fluoride in order to improve their oral hygiene and oral health.
Furthermore, having good and strong teeth not only make the people boost their confidence and smile more, but also help the government save a portion in their budget that’s allotted for the allowance of the community’s health – instead of spending too much on the maintenance of the people’s oral health, they could just allocate the money on other things and help those who truly need it.
What are the Uses and Effects of Fluoride on Human Beings?
For more than 60 years, the naturally- occurring chemical, fluoride, has been helping people and companies because of its benefits in terms of our oral health.
As its main benefit, fluoride protects and helps our teeth in resisting tooth decay by strengthening the surface of our teeth -commonly called enamel. For instance, when a tooth gets partially moldered, the said chemical would help the rebuilding and remineralize of the enamel. Furthermore, it would prevent additional tooth decay by fighting off cavities that destroy our teeth.
Thus applying dental products that are rich in fluoride would surely provide the said benefits – strengthening of our teeth and protecting it from decay – and secure our oral health against any oral health issues and problems.
In addition, these said products work by having small amounts of fluoride being distributed entirely throughout our mouth because it blends together in our saliva, then this would constantly expose our enamels with fluoride.
However, in spite of its great benefits, fluoride does have its downside. When exposed to a huge amount or too much fluoride, our body could acquire various harmful effects, specifically our body being exposed to the risks of having health problems that are related to fluoride.
If a person happens to be exposed or has consumed an amount of fluoride that is greater than the standard minimal amount, then this person has a greater possibility of having diseases such as the dental fluorosis, the skeletal fluorosis, and other more thyroid and neurological problems.
Dental fluorosis is caused by too much concentration of fluoride in our enamel. One of the main symptoms of this is having white streaks or specks on the surface of our teeth. It is common among children below 6 years of age because their teeth are still developing, and thus it is still very delicate – although this disease does not generally affect the health of our teeth.
Skeletal fluorosis, on the other hand, can cause serious damage to our body, specifically to our bones. When we are exposed too much to fluoride, our bones could become stiff and less elastic, which then leads to an increased possibility of having fractures. This may increase the size or the thickness of bone parts near our joints, making our movements rigid.
Parathyroid glands can also be impaired by too much fluoride causing Hyperparathyroidism. Hyperparathyroidism is a disease where our hormones are abnormally produced, causing a depletion of the calcium in our bone structure, thus making us at a higher risk of experiencing fractures. Additionally, this said disease would increase the concentration of calcium in our blood that could interfere with how our brain and heart work and create kidney stones.
Experts have also shown studies suggesting that babies with mothers exposed to high concentrations of fluoride developed with poorer cognitive abilities and have lower scores on IQ tests.
Some studies from the IAOMT or the International Association of Oral Medicine and Toxicology found out that there are also several other health risks where fluoride was the main factor or indicator of why it happened.
Such health risks include higher pressure of the blood, hypertension, problems in the skin, issues in our productive system, health problems related to the heart, joint disorders or immobility, cancer that includes the bones and teeth, damage to the myocardium, bone arthritis, irregular function of the thyroid glands, and even the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or commonly known as ADHD.
Concerning the results of their studies, IAOMT is an organization that highly enacts on the use or addition of fluoride in any consumable products, especially water.
Due to these negative effects, the United States Food and Drugs Administration or FDA have issued a revised and approved standard amount of fluorides – 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter – contained in the quality of provided tap water and produced bottled water to reduce these health risks on the consumers.
The Presence of Fluoride in Consumable Water
Because of its said benefits, fluoride is also added to the consumable water. This is for the reason that water is accessible, a necessity for human survival, and is widely consumed. Studies have proved that as we consumed water that has a certain amount of fluoride, we are then being benefitted by its effects.
This is why fluoride was then decided to be added in tap water provided by water companies to help locals in regards to their oral health since tooth decay is very abundant, especially in children of young ages.
Since it improves the oral health of the locals, it also saves a portion of the budget of the local governments for community health. In addition, the said chemical was also recommended to be added in bottled water products by their manufacturers but with the certain right amount as approved by the Centers for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in order to increase the range of effectiveness of the benefits of this chemical.
An amount of 0.7 mL per liter of water was the resulting data from the experts of the FDA as the optimal concentration of fluoride for the drinking water since it produced the best outcomes from the experiments conducted. It was found out that only within this amount can help prevent tooth decay while not having a high risk of developing health problems such as fluorosis in the bodies of the subjects.
The Usage Fluoridated Water for the Baby’s Oral Health
A lot of reviews have been made from credible scientific organizations in determining the proper and safe methods regarding oral health. One of their debates includes the fluoridation of the water; since water is important and is commonly used in a lot of ways.
As discussed before, fluoride aids in the prevention and further development of cavities in our teeth, thus preventing tooth decay. Although it is highly recommended to use toothpaste with fluoride as an ingredient, drinking water with this said compound is still considered to be the most efficient and practical way of improving oral health among children and adults.
The ADA (American Dental Association) offers these recommendations to reduce fluoride intake from reconstituted infant formula.
- Breast milk is widely acknowledged as the most complete form of nutrition for infants. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends human milk for all infants (except for the few for whom breastfeeding is determined to be harmful).
- For infants who get most of their nutrition from formula during their first 12 months, ready-to-feed formula is preferred to help ensure that their fluoride intake does not exceed the optimal amount.
- If liquid concentrate or powdered infant formula is the primary source of nutrition, it can be mixed with water that is fluoride-free or contains low levels of fluoride to reduce the risk of fluorosis. These include water labeled as purified, demineralized, deionized or distilled, as well as reverse-osmosis filtered water. Many stores sell these types of drinking water for less than $1 per gallon.
Parents and caregivers should consult with their dentist, pediatrician or family physician regarding the most appropriate water to use in their area to reconstitute infant formula. Ask your pediatrician or family physician whether water used in infant formula should be sterilized first (sterilization, however, will not remove fluoride).
Unless advised to do so by a dentist or other health care professional, parents should not use a fluoride toothpaste in children younger than 2 years, because they may inadvertently swallow the toothpaste.
Children 2 years and older should use an appropriate-sized toothbrush with a small brushing surface and only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste at each brushing. They should always be supervised while brushing and taught to spit out, rather than swallow toothpaste.
To know this, one should be able to contact the water provider. If you are using water coming from the well, you may have a professional or someone from your local health district test the water for fluoride contents.
Else, if you are using bottled water, check the indicated labels on whether the liquid is indeed fluoridated or not, and if it happened to be fluoridated, how much amount of fluoride does it contain. And just to be sure, you may contact the manufacturer using the contact number or contact details on the label for more information.
Once the baby is to be fed by formula milk, nutritionists highly warn not to use fluoridated water in dissolving the formulated milk powder. A baby could take in a high concentration of fluoride through the formulated milk created with the use of fluoridated water.
In comparison to breast milk, fluoridated water contains 200 up to 250 times more fluoride, which can be toxic, especially to younger age groups or to those who are still depending on liquid intakes for a food source.
Records showed that children who were historically provided with fluoridated formula milk as infants have higher rates of dental fluorosis on their front teeth – the test results showed the early stages of the said disease. And other more records showed that infants that were exposed to fluoridated formula milk grew with health problems such as thyroid impairment and lower-than-normal IQ’s.
As showed by the cases on the risk of fluorosis, most dental researches advised that parents should use water that has a low amount of fluoride, or if possible, has no fluoride at all when feeding their babies with formulated milk.
Ever since this was known to public discourses, most states have issued their people warnings with regard to this matter. In New Hampshire, a bill was passed requiring the water providers and companies to regularly inform their consumers on the updates and on the warnings of infant fluorosis and other related health risks. The city of Milwaukee and Vermont also used similar ways to inform their residents.
Is Fluoridated Water Safe for Babies and Young Children?
In spite of the said negative cases, the ADA (American Dental Association) has announced that the usage of fluoridated water in creating formulated milk for the infants is not necessarily to be avoided. They also encouraged parents to inquire to dentists and pediatricians if they have questions regarding the issue of the usage of fluoridated water.
While it is already known that using fluoridated water on formula milk increases the risk of developing dental fluorosis among children, almost every case and instance of dental fluorosis is only a mild level and is irrelevantly harmful to the children’s teeth. It appears as very faint, white streaks on the teeth of the child and does not cause any pain or discomfort, and also does not affect the function or health of the child’s teeth.
In 2010, a research study on the issue relating to mild fluorosis and infant formula milk resulted that fluoridated water is not necessarily to be avoided in mixing formula milk. It was also concluded that the effect of mild fluorosis on children was not a considerable impact. Thus with only a limited amount of fluoride in the water, the said chemical could still be beneficial.
“These recommendations are presented as a resource to be considered in the clinical decision-making process. As part of the evidence-based approach to care, these clinical recommendations should be integrated with the practitioner’s professional judgment and the patient’s needs and preferences.” – A Report of the American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs
*If you have concerns about this, talk with your pediatrician or dentist.
EcoBlueLife.com is a replacement water and air filter company located in the United States. The views and opinions contained herein are solely those of the original author and do not represent Eco Blue Life or its affiliates. This article was originally published on TheBerkey.com