There has been a lot of discussion about fluoride toxicity.
If you’re like me, you’ll find it hard to change your tooth brushing habits. Toothpaste, which has fluoride, cleans our teeth and freshens our breaths. But there have been concerns about its safety. Many toothpaste packages have warning labels about fluoride toxicity.
So, is fluoride safe? You’ll want answers to this question because you use it daily. If you decide that it’s not, you would want to know how to detoxify. You’ll also want to know if there are toothpaste alternatives. Do note that this article makes neutral observations.
About Fluoride Toxicity
1. What is Fluoride Toxicity?
Excess exposure to large amounts of fluoride can have adverse effects on our health. Most cases of fluoride poisoning arise because people consume groundwater that’s filled with it.
On average, the concentration of fluoride in public water is 1 mg per liter. Groundwater has much more. About 60 million people in India suffered fluoride poisoning when they drank contaminated groundwater. The malfunctioning of water fluoridation equipment may lead to the release of fluoride into water sources.
Most cases of fluoride toxicity happen when people accidentally ingest sodium fluoride based insecticides. Using dental products exposes us to fluoride.
2. How the Fluoridation Process Works
You may wonder what goes on in your mouth after you’ve brushed your teeth. Here’s how the fluoridation process works.
Fluoride joins enamel to teeth. Tooth enamel consists of hydroxyapatite, a compound made of phosphorus, calcium, hydrogen, and oxygen.
Fluoride replaces the hydroxyl molecule and makes teeth resistant to bacterial attacks. You already know that tooth decay can cause serious health problems if left untreated.
3, The Fluoride Controversy
Fluoridation has been controversial since the 1940s. Advocates suggest that it helps protect impoverished children from cavities.
The American Dental Association and the Center for Disease Control have endorsed the process.
Conversely, opposers like the Fluoride Action Network say that it’s a form of mass medication. They argue that it’s difficult to manage the dosage when put into public water. Furthermore, high levels of fluoride can cause bone fractures, thyroid disorders, and impaired cognitive function. A study in Environmental Health Perspectives showed that raised levels of fluoride in drinking water led to low IQ levels in some Chinese children.
Fluoride can cause Dental Fluorosis. It leaves white streaks in mild cases and brown stains in dangerous ones. According to the CDC, about 57% of teenagers have this condition.
Uses of Fluoride
Apart from managing tooth decay, fluoride has many uses.
First of all, manufacturers use fluorides as Teflon to create pots and pans. You’ll also find it in surgical implants.
The dyes used in imaging studies contain fluoride. You’ll discover it in contrast mediums, particularly in a process known as Positron Emission Topography (PET). Doctors use it to observe the body’s metabolism.
Some medications contain fluorides. The medicine Tipranavir, employed in HIV treatment has this substance.
The Effects of Fluoride
Fluoride has many uses. But it may also have harmful effects, as studies point out. Please note that these are observations.
1. Skeletal fluorosis and arthritis
First of all, fluoride may cause joint diseases. One of these is Skeletal Fluorosis, a bone disease. The symptoms are similar to arthritis, so the two conditions are hard to distinguish.
Patients with Skeletal Fluorosis suffer from joint stiffness and crippling. A doctor may diagnose arthritis when this condition is absent.
2. Gastrointestinal disorders
Also, people with high exposure to fluoride might have persistent gastric problems. Studies show that those who have skeletal fluorosis might have G1 disorders as well. Poison control centers, such as the ones in Utah, have received reports of fluoride poisoning.
Some research shows that ingesting just 9 milligrams of it can cause children to vomit.
3. Brain effects
Furthermore, fluoride may result in a disease called Osteomalacia. It’s a condition commonly found in patients with kidney disease. As a result, many manufacturers have removed fluoride from dialysis units.
Another disease that fluoride may cause is bone cancer or Osteosarcoma. It’s rare, though deadly, and affects mostly teenagers. One study showed that fluoride caused Osteosarcoma in rats.
Fluoride may also trigger bladder and lung cancer. One study researched a workplace for over 20 years. It found that workers exposed to fluoride had higher rates of bladder and lung cancer than their colleagues.
Some studies have shown that fluoride increases blood glucose. According to research, people who took in just 0.07 mg of fluoride a day developed diabetes. Since people with diabetes drink more water than non-diabetics, they have a higher rate of fluoride exposure.
7. The Endocrine System
Consequently, fluoride may affect the endocrine system. The National Research Council of the National Academies states that fluoride affects endocrine function. It disrupts the thyroid and pineal glands. Fluoride may also prevent the pancreas from regulating insulin.
Avoiding Fluoride Toxicity: Performing a Flouride Detox
Fluoride is harmful in high concentrations, according to a 2006 report published by the National Research Council. The researchers found that 4ppm of fluoride couldn’t prevent children from developing dental fluorosis.
The CDC states that 1 ppm of fluoride, the amount usually added to water, is safe. We can take steps to prevent fluoride toxicity. Here’s how to get rid of the fluoride in your body.
First of all, include iodine in your diet. Seaweed is an excellent source of this. You’ll also find it in organic strawberries, yogurt, and potatoes.
Boron, a natural substance in food, flushes fluoride from the body. You’ll find it in dates, prunes, broccoli, avocado, and bananas.
Also, tamarind, an African fruit cleanses the body of fluoride. Increasing calcium, found in dairy products, has the same effect.
Using Fluoride Alternatives
You can’t go without brushing your teeth, but you can avoid using too much toothpaste. Here are some surprising toothpaste alternatives
First of all, brush your teeth with sea salt. If you have concerns about abrasion, dissolve it in water before brushing it away.
You may also dip your toothbrush in baking soda and brush your teeth as usual. Hydrogen peroxide, another toothpaste alternative, keeps teeth clean and white. You can use herbal tooth powders in place of toothpaste as well.
Try brushing your teeth with pure water. While you won’t get that minty freshness, it does clear your mouth of debris.
Did you know that soap can clean your teeth? All natural soap can. If you’re afraid of using real soap, try toothpaste soap, available at pharmacies.
In all, you don’t have to avoid fluoride, but note that too much of it can cause fluoride toxicity. Feel free to make your assessment of how much of it is safe.
By Michelle L.
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