The subject of fluoride is a very contentious and heavily debated topic. Some individuals are pushing for the removal of fluoride from public water systems while public health experts are hailing fluoridation as one of the most important public health milestones in the past century. But why did fluoridation come to fruition to begin with? And if it’s such a wonderful discovery, how come there is a move to scrap fluoridation?

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral which helps in the precipitation of enamel crystals of the external layers of your teeth. The problem with tooth decay is that it’s basically a process of enamel erosion. The enamel layer of your teeth melts with constant interaction with acids that are generated by the bacteria inside your mouth and also by certain beverages which you consume. The reason for why fluoride is crucial to good oral health is that it allows for the external enamel layer to become thick and, therefore, make it more difficult for the cavities to form.

Is it possible for you to suffer from too much fluoride?

While dental fluorosis is not that much a problem if you already have all of your permanent teeth, this condition is common among babies, toddlers and young children who still have their milk teeth and have yet to get their permanent teeth. Dental fluorosis, or the excessive exposure to fluoride, can lead to the discoloration of the permanent teeth once they begin to erupt. In severe cases, teeth are even known to have ridges and grooves develop on the external enamel layer. While dental fluorosis only leads to cosmetic problems with your teeth, these problems are still difficult to treat and can be extremely expensive to rectify.

How can you get fluoride?

Fluoride is part of most people’s tap water. For this reason, every glass of water means that you’re also getting a significant dose of fluoride as well. However, with more and more individuals moving away from the tap as their main source of potable drinking water, bottled water contains no amount of fluoride and, therefore, individuals need to pick out new sources of fluoride. Luckily, fluoride is a part of most oral hygiene products. However, cosmetic dental products are actually devoid of any fluoride but are marketed to make it seem like they’re still good for your teeth. For this reason, you need to be more scrutinizing of the products that you purchase.