Why is Fluoride in our Toothpaste & Tap Water?

Let’s Talk About This Fluoride Thing...

fluoridated tap water for drinking
Thanks to Instagram, the ‘wellness industry’ is making a move on our teeth. And for no adequately backed reason, many are not  supportive of fluoride – in our water or toothpaste. Young, scientifically uneducated ‘entrepeneurs’ are bringing out new and pretty toothpaste brands, and many claim to be ‘free of nasties’ like fluoride. But STOP right there. In the right dose, fluoride is an excellent natural repair kit for teeth that’s been repeatedly proven to be safe. So don’t be fooled by bad information. Here’s what you absolutely must know.

“But I read that fluoride was bad…”

Try not to believe what you read on social media or a You-Tube video. Anything can be bad – or kill you – in the wrong dose. Including fluoride. But unless you’re doing something extremely odd, chances are you’re not getting a harmful dose of fluoride.

Remember: it’s s the dose that makes the poison.

This is the fundamental rule of toxicology: for a chemical to be harmful, it must be eaten, drunk, or absorbed at toxic levels.

Fluoride can be very bad for your body, just like anything, such as water or sunshine or oxygen or pickles. But only in the wrong dose.

FACT: Fluoride has been repeatedly tested and found to be safe for human use in the levels we have in our toothpaste and tap water.

Australians have been adding fluoride to tap water ever since 30 September, 1953 (in Beaconsfield Tasmania). For decades, scientists have been researching the effects of fluoridated water and, consequently, have bucket loads of reassuring data.

Plus, the World Health Organisation maintains that fluoridation is a safe and effective way of preventing dental cavities.

In Australia, the NHMRC regularly examine the evidence of water fluoridation. In fact, in 2016, they published a systematic review on the subject. A systematic review is known as the gold standard of scientific reviews. It involves searching literature to locate all relevant studies and then critically appraising and synthesising results to gain an overall understanding.

The conclusion?  That water fluoridation in Australia “decreased occurrence and severity of tooth decay between 26 and 44 per cent in children and adolescents, and 27 per cent in adults.”

Plus – they found no evidence that it caused any human health problems. And – they specifically looked for problems that may link to kidney health, musculoskeletal problems, allergies, cancer, thyroid problems and decrease intelligence and found nothing.

“NHMRC strongly recommends community water fluoridation as a safe, effective and ethical way to help reduce tooth decay across the population.”

 – NHMRC Public Statement 2017: Water Fluoridation and Human Health in Australia

fluorideis found in nature and water A naturally occurring mineral

If the wellness industry only wants to use natural products, why won’t they promote fluoride? Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in all sorts of lovely places – soil, rocks, fresh grains, ocean water, mountain streams. Matter of fact, it’s even found in tea and chocolate!

fluoride in water Why do we need fluoride?

It’s like nature’s repair kit for teeth…

Fluoride enhances the remineralisation and repair of your teeth. Every moment, our teeth are being subjected to acids. Fluoride helps make a is more resistant to acid damage. Think of it as sealing your teeth. It also helps slow down bacterial activity.

Fluoride can help your teeth:

  • superficially – by being directly exposed to your teeth through fluoride toothpaste and tap water
  • systemically – when you drink water, your gut absorbs ingested fluoride. It is then circulated through your body. Some go to your bones and teeth; some goes to your saliva. You pee out the excess).

Fluoridated tap water Fluoridated tap water

Fluoride is added to tap water in many places around the world, including most parts of Australia. This is because it’s been proven to be a highly effective – and cheap way of preventing dental caries. And, it’s especially good for those in low-income areas who may not always receive the best dental care.

In Australia, the National Health and Medical Research Council recommend a fluoridation range of 6 to 1.1 milligrams of fluoride per one litre of drinking water. In New South Wales, fluoride is added to the water supply at one milligram per litre concert at one part per million.

Do I need fluoride toothpaste then?

Yes. According to experts, you do. Our gooey toothpaste gets close to our teeth, in between nooks and crannies and helps rid bacteria. But that only happens once or twice a day. Enter: fluoridated tap water. As we sip water throughout the day, we bathe our teeth with a low fluoride concentration and ingest the fluoride, which helps our teeth from the inside out.

Choose a fluoride toothpaste

 Australia’s peak dental body, the ADA recommends brushing teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste.

However, if you have a little one under the age of 18 months, do not use fluoride toothpaste.

Kids aged 18 months to 6 years should use low fluoride toothpaste. (This is because children’s gag reflexes are not good, and they may ingest too much toothpaste. If you spit out fluoride toothpaste, the quantity consumed is harmless.)

Speak to your dental professional

We want you to keep your teeth! Now that the wellness industry is targeting our teeth and oral health, a few important facts are (occasionally) being thrown out the window. DON’T listen to friends believe what you read on Instagram. Speak to your dentist about your concerns, instead.

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