Do We Actually Need Fluorine?
Fluorine reduces the risk of dental tooth decay. This fact was found out in the 1940s, when scientists discovered that in those regions where the water contains more fluorides due to natural reasons, people are less likely to suffer from tooth diseases. Such discovery has been confirmed by numerous recent studies. Moreover, it became clear that fluorine can stop caries process. The most common reason of the tooth caries is the Streptococcus mutant bacteria; it turns the sugar or starch into acids that destroy dental enamel. Fluorine reduces the ability of bacteria to produce acid whilst strengthening and remineralizing enamel on teeth.
In some countries, it is a common opinion that for an adult regardless of gender it is necessary to receive 4 mg of fluorine daily. As European experts say, it is rather sufficient to receive 3 mg per day for women.
Fluorine is contained in soil, freshwater and saltwater, tea, seafood, and gelatin. Typically, municipal water also contains this element, but it is often insufficient. It is known that concentration of fluorine in municipal water should be at least 0.7 mg/l for caries prevention. To achieve this figure, the water must be fluorinated.
More than 60 percent of the US population have access to fluoridated water. In Eastern Europe, for example, the situation is much worse. Sanitary scientists a few years ago claimed that there are hardly several reliable systems of water fluoridation in the region. As they say, the main reason for the high level of tooth caries among Europeans is low fluorine content in the surface water sources (rivers, lakes, reservoirs).
Does fluoridated water cause cancer? The debate began in 1991, when one study showed that rats treated with water with high content of fluorine got osteosarcoma (a malignant tumor of bones) developed with a higher rate. However, further studies involving animals and humans have not confirmed the link between fluoridated water and cancer. Although, excessive consumption of fluorine can lead to fluorosis (sediment of fluorine salts in bones), that’s why its content in water should not exceed 1.5 mg/l. The residents of the regions with high concentration of fluorides in water comprise the risk group for dental fluorosis.
Numerous studies have shown that toothpastes with fluoride help to remineralize dental enamel significantly and are an effective means for preventing tooth decay. Some dentists also recommend passing the procedure of coating teeth with fluoric layer after cleaning at the dentist’s at least once every two years.