fluoride in drinking water

Fluoride In Drinking Water – Good Or Bad?

For almost all of the bottled waters sold in Australia, one of the selling point is fluoridation. That is because of the numerous health benefits that come from fluoride. The mineral has the ability to prevent teeth decay, and that is why it is added in water. However, fluorine should be taken in the right amount as too much of it can have devastating effects on your health. So it can be good or bad depending on the amount consumed. But what is this mineral?

What Is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in the soil. The mineral can be found in the soil, rocks, fresh and salt water, sea water and in some food amongst other places. Scientifically, it is the negative ion of the element fluorine. The mineral is crucial to the body as it plays a significant role in the mineralization of the bones, teeth to keep them hard and strong. That is why it is found in water and some of the food where it is artificially added. It is usually added to public drinking water, mouthwash products, and toothpaste.

How Does Fluoride End In Water

As mentioned above, there are many places that you can find fluoride. That means water from such places is rich in this mineral. Therefore, there are many ways that fluoride does end up in the water. In most cases, it is added artificially to improve the quality of drinking water supplied to consumers. Here are three ways that fluoride ends in the water here in Australia:

1. Public Water Supply

well water rich in mineralsPublic water supply is usually fluoridated at the central plant where it is treated before it is supplied to the public. In places where surface streams do not have fluoride in it, controlled addition is recommended throughout Australia. That is why when your water is being tested, it is likely to test positive for fluoride.

2. Well Water

Fluoride occurs naturally in the soil, and that is why it is possible to have well water rich in this mineral. However, this can be dangerous because fluoride quantity cannot be regulated. So it is important to have your well water tested for fluoride before you start consuming it.

3. Bottled Water

Bottled water is big business in Australia, especially during summer. As part of the quality control, this water is fluoridated artificially. These are three ways that fluoride ends up in the water.

Why Is Fluoride Good?

dental cavitiesOne of the biggest reasons why fluoride is added in drinking water is to help prevent dental cavities or what is known as dental caries or tooth decay. It is a condition that is caused by bacteria living in your mouth. These bacteria usually break down carbs and produce an acid that damages tooth enamel hence exposing the sensitive part of the teeth to more damage. That is when toothaches start. Fluoride occurs naturally in foods but many people don’t get enough due to their diet.

The acid produced by the bacteria also enhances the process of demineralization, which further damages your teeth. So when remineralisation is lower than the demineralisation, then cavities development will be inevitable. Here are ways that fluoride helps to prevent dental cavities:

  • Reducing demineralisation- Fluoride mineral helps to slow the loss of tooth enamel minerals.
    Therefore, the likelihood of cavities is significantly reduced.
  • Remineralisation- fluoride works by improving the process of repairing tooth enamel by putting
    back minerals back into it.
  • Inhibiting bacterial activity- One of the biggest threat to teeth health is bacteria in the mouth. Fluoride works by reducing the acid produced by these bacteria as well as interfering with the activities of the enzymes. It also inhibits the growth of bacteria.

Why Fluoride Is Bad

As mentioned above, excess intake of fluoride in a long period can cause serious health complications. There are two main health conditions caused by excess fluoride. Here are two main health issues caused by fluoride:

1) Dental Fluorosis

The condition is characterised by the visual changes in the appearance of teeth. In mild condition, you might start seeing white spots on the teeth. However, in severe cases, which are less common, a brown stain start forming on the teeth as well as weakening of the teeth. However, dental fluorosis mostly occurs during the formation of the teeth in childhood with the most critical time being the first two years. That is the period when the child’s teeth are
developing.

fluoride test on water and dental productsTherefore, you need to check the amount of fluoride that your child is consuming to avoid dental fluorosis. Check the amount of fluoride in their supplement, toothpaste, and so on. In addition, feeding your child with formulas mixed with fluoridated water also exposes them to dental fluorosis.

2) Skeleton Fluorosis

Skeleton Fluorosis is one of the most severe medical conditions caused by taking excess fluoride. It is a bone disease that develops as a result of the accumulation of fluoride in the bone for many years. The condition mostly manifests itself in adulthood. Some of the symptoms include stiffness and joint pain. In severe situations, the bone structure is altered as well as the calcification of ligaments.

In most cases, the condition affects people who are exposed to naturally high fluoridated water and food. Skeleton fluorosis mostly affect a region and not a person. That is why testing water is very crucial especial if the water is being consumed directly from the source.  Other conditions that experts believe can be caused by excess fluoride include overall bone structure, cancer, and impaired Brains.

Check the water filter for your fridge to see if it can help remove excess fluoride in the water. So if you are drinking well water or water direct from the source, you need to invest in fridge filters. It is an easy but efficient way of dealing with fluoride issue.

Verdict

Fluoride is a crucial mineral as it affects the health of the bone structure- that includes dental health. That is why almost 70% or more of the population in all Australia’s states and territories are provided with artificially fluoridated water. However, this amount should be controlled as too much of this mineral is harmful to your body.

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