Happy Monday! How are y’all doing today? I’m doing pretty great. I’ve been working a lot, so I’ve been staying pretty busy.
Today’s Meredith’s Monday Musings topic is all about: Fluoride.
If there’s one question that I get asked the most at my work, it’s “Is fluoride dangerous?” My answer is always, “Yes…if you consume a lot of it.”
There are many false claims out there about this element, that is actually very healthy for your teeth and body. Critics claim that fluoride can kill you, that it’ll do serious harm to your children, that the government is controlling us by putting it all in the water, etc. It’s a bit crazy what some people say.
So here’s the deal with fluoride. Fluoride is great to use for teeth because 1) It helps re-build damaged enamel. I love this benefit! Our enamel takes a beating every day. When we brush our teeth or drink fluoridated water, the fluoride gets to come in and act like a little repair crew, fixing the micro holes that we ourselves created in our enamel. This is fantastic because if these micro holes weren’t fixed on a daily basis, there’d be a better chance that they could form into larger holes, allowing bacteria to get inside, and then the person has a cavity. 2) It stops the growth of bacteria. There’s more bacteria inside a person’s mouth than I think anyone realizes. It’s actually pretty gross to think about. Anyway, fun fact for the day, cavities are caused by a bacteria called S. Mutans. These bacteria eat away at the enamel on a person’s teeth and if undisturbed will go into the dentin of the tooth, causing a cavity. When these bacteria are doing that, if they get exposed to fluoride, they stop multiplying and will die. Thus, limiting your chances for getting a cavity.
I don’t know about y’all, but the two benefits listed above are seriously great! As a person who is prone to cavities while using fluoridated toothpaste, I’m scared to imagine how many areas of decay I’d have in my mouth if I chose not to use fluoridated toothpaste.
Now, it’s time to address the critics. As I stated before, Fluoride can be dangerous to a person if said person consumes a large quantity of it. For example, if someone were to eat an entire tube of toothpaste, they’re going to get very sick and possibly die. In that situation, yes fluoride is very bad. However, I don’t know any health professional that would ever recommend that a person eat a whole tube of toothpaste. In fact, when a person brushes their teeth, we just want them to use a pea sized drop of tooth paste.
As for fluoride in the water, it is correct that if there’s too much fluoride in the water it can cause some serious staining to a person’s teeth. This is actually called dental fluorosis. There are places in the United States, mostly around Colorado and that area where fluoride is naturally abundant in the water. (To make it 100% clear, the government isn’t adding fluoride to that water, it’s the earth itself adding all of it.) Anyway, so yes, if there’s too much fluoride in the water, it is bad for people’s teeth.
Here’s the thing that people should know. In places like Colorado where there is too much fluoride naturally occurring in the water, the government goes in and takes out some of it so that people aren’t getting the harmful effects of the element. In places that have too little fluoride in the water, they’re adding a tiny bit to it. In fact, the amount of fluoride in the water is .7ppm. In case you don’t know what that means, for every 1 liter of water, there is .7 milligrams of fluoride in it. This is such an unbelievably small amount.
If all of the above still doesn’t have you convinced that fluoride is good for humans, let me give one last example. A banana has potassium in it, right? Yes. Yet people eat bananas all the time. One banana a day is pretty healthy for people. The body needs potassium, it has natural sugars, etc. Do y’all know that too much potassium will kill a person? *GASP* Even knowing this, people still eat bananas. Why? Because they know that eating one banana a day, heck even two or three won’t hurt them. The same thing goes for fluoride. As long as fluoride is consumed in the correct size quantities that are recommended by the government and your dentist, it isn’t going to harm you in anyway.
That’s my post for today. I hope that everyone has a great week!