Your Guide to Fluoride Part 2 – Risks | Prescott, AZ
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In this series, we’re discussing the benefits, risks, and alternatives to fluoride. In part 2, we’ll discuss the risks associated with fluoride. Find part 1, discussing the benefits, here!
There are three primary avenues that the common public uses fluoride: toothpaste, mouthwash, and community water fluoridation (CWF). When used as intended, toothpaste and mouthwash are hardly ever an issue because they are not designed to be ingested. CWF, on the other hand, involves infusing fluoride into the community water supply which is supposed to be ingested. This is typically where the fear of health risks originate. However, many organizations like the American Dental Association and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) support the benefits and use of water fluoridation.
Here is what the CDC has to say on the matter of the alleged health risks:
“No convincing scientific evidence has been found linking [CWF] with any potential adverse health effect or systemic disorder such as an increased risk for cancer, Down syndrome, heart disease, osteoporosis and bone fracture, immune disorders, low intelligence, renal disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, or allergic reactions.”
So does ingesting fluoride have any conclusive adverse health risks we know of today? There is one: fluorosis.
Fluorosis can be described as what happens when one uses or ingests too much fluoride, resulting in adverse effects to the look and/or function of one’s teeth, such as brown/white spots. Thankfully fluorosis tends to be a purely cosmetic issue and mainly occurs with young children (around 2 and under) who swallow a substance with fluoride, like toothpaste, instead of spitting it out. In the U.S. in particular, fluorosis tends to be an even milder issue that does not have an effect on the look or function of teeth.
The bottom line for fluoride safety is to make sure that it is being used as intended and to supervise children who may be prone to ingesting substances containing fluoride–other than your water supply. For most of us here in the U.S., fluoride tends not to be a great health issue. However, at Prescott Dentistry, we understand that families may still have concerns about the use of fluoride. That’s why, in part 3, we’ll talk about alternatives to fluoride. We hope you enjoy it!