What Are the Benefits, Side Effects, and Recommendations for Fluoride Treatment

What Are the Benefits, Side Effects, and Recommendations for Fluoride Treatment?

Fluoridation is one of the most effective public health measures ever implemented. It’s been around since 1945 when it was first started in New York City. Since then it has spread all over the world including Canada, Australia, Japan and even parts of Europe. However there have always been concerns about its safety because of possible adverse reactions from long term exposure to fluoride.

In the United States, fluoridated water supplies were required until 1978. Thereafter, individual states could decide whether or not they wanted to add fluoride to their drinking water supplies. Many communities chose to do so; however, some did not.

Some of these communities included:

California (until 1977)

Colorado (since 1977)

Florida (until 1979)

Indiana (from 1982) and Kentucky (since 1985).

Since 1986, all municipal water systems serving at least 25% of the population must provide fluoridated water. These include:

Albuquerque, NM (from 1987) and Albuquerque International Airport (1987), and Fort Collins, CO (1988).

The American Dental Association recommends that children under six years old get no more than 1 ppm fluoride in their drinking water. Children between 6 – 11 years old should receive 2 ppm fluoride in their drinking water. And anyone over the age of 11 should receive no more than 4 ppm fluoride in water.

Even if the water supply is not fluoridated there are still other ways for people to access it. It is found in dental products such as toothpaste, mouthwash, rinses and professionally applied gels or foams. All of which can be swallowed, even if used sparingly.

Fluoride is naturally occurring in certain water supplies and soil. It is also added to toothpastes and mouthwashes. In the U.S., fluoride is often added to drinking water in an effort to reduce the incidence of dental caries (cavities).

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that water fluoridation is effective, some studies have suggested that the benefits of fluoridated water are less than previously thought.

Sources & references used in this article:

What is next for the dietary reference intakes for bone metabolism related nutrients beyond calcium: phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin D, and fluoride? by C Bergman, D Gray-Scott, JJ Chen… – Critical reviews in food …, 2009 – Taylor & Francis

Fluoride varnishes and decrease in caries incidence in preschool children: a systematic review by DM Carvalho, M Salazar, BH Oliveira… – Revista Brasileira de …, 2010 – SciELO Public Health

Post-brushing rinsing for the control of dental caries: exploration of the available evidence to establish what advice we should give our patients by N Pitts, RM Duckworth, P Marsh, B Mutti… – British Dental …, 2012 – nature.com

The role of chlorhexidine in caries prevention by J Autio-Gold – Operative dentistry, 2008 – jopdentonline.org

Global water fluoridation: what is holding us back by SA Botchey, J Ouyang, S Vivekanantham – Altern Ther Health Med, 2015 – academia.edu

Cochrane reviews on the benefits/risks of fluoride toothpastes by MCM Wong, J Clarkson, AM Glenny… – Journal of dental …, 2011 – journals.sagepub.com

Abnormal bone mineralization after fluoride treatment in osteoporosis: a small‐angle x‐ray‐scattering study by P Fratzl, P Roschger, J Eschberger… – Journal of Bone and …, 1994 – Wiley Online Library

Fluoride varnish for caries prevention: comparisons with other preventive agents and recommendations for a community‐based protocol by JA Weintraub, LH Professor – Special Care in Dentistry, 2003 – Wiley Online Library