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Fluoride is an issue in the UK, however for six decades, the American Dental Association has CONTINUOUSLY endorsed the fluoridation of community water supplies and the use of fluoride-containing products as SAFE and EFFECTIVE methods for preventing tooth decay.
The ADA is clear that many bottled waters may not protect.
For sixty years the Americans have managed to make and sustain a decision and in sixty years they have not lived to regret it.
The UK still debates scare stories.
My contribution is that I have seen no evidence to contradict the Americans.
Fluoridation in Birmingham has had a massive effect on reducing levels of tooth decay in youngsters locally.
Statistically, children with severe decay undergo more General anaesthetics and may suffer debilitating illnesses and adverse effects in general terms from infections and abscesses. I therefore conclude that there are people alive today that have survived into adult life directly as a result of fluoridation. Countless others have not suffered the misery of toothache.
There are arguments against mass medication through the water supply but chlorination prevents water bourne pathogens and chlorides are very similar as a halides just like fluoride.
The concentration of fluoride in water must be no higher than 1ppm (part per million) because like nearly everyyhing in life, there is a perfect dose.
Fluoride salts like chloride salts, common salt being an example are toxic if you have far too much. Fluoride is more reactive and therefore needs closer control to this dose of 1ppm.
If you increase your fluoride level about six fold and you cannot do this by just drinking six times as much water as everyone else, you will observe enamel fluorosis in the adult teeth of children who have had this high fluoride intake. These teeth are mottled in colour (white,cream,light brown), of normal shape and appear exceptionally strong.
The usual way to reach a six fold dose is eating toothpaste regularly. Young children should be given only enough toothpaste to brush and then encouraged to spit out the majority of the toothpaste after brushing. A few episodes of swallowing toothpaste will not cause fluorosis.
Having been very positive about fluoride, there are a series of rinses or mouthwashes and even fluoride tablets that can be used in non-fluoridated water supply areas. I am entirely happy about their use as long as they are ALWAYS ADMINISTERED UNDER ADULT SUPERVISION. On no account should children have open access to these products any more than having access to a box of aspirin or paracetamol. Just like the latter products, ingesting too much will have severe consequences. The lethal dose of common salt for a small child can be as low as 4 teaspoons. Fluoride is entirely safe when used correctly and this particular overdose worry of mine would disappear with universal water fluoridation in the UK.
I deliberately raise my fluoride intake by drinking tea. Tea is naturally high in fluoride and as long as you do not add sugar it is a great drink for teeth. If you eat something sweet, finishing with tea will, with the warmth and rinsing effects of the tea, reduce the effects of the residual sugar in your mouth. You still need to brush but the tea will have helped in the meantime.
Colgate make a prescription only toothpaste called Colgate Duraphat which has 2800ppm and another which has 5400ppm. These products are 2 times and 4 times the fluoride of a normal fluoridated toothpaste. Their effect on average is to halve or quarter decay rates respectively which rather demonstrates just how powerful and effective fluoride is.