13 Sep

Fluoride in London: fabulous or fatal

In the pioneering days of dentistry in London and before the scientists started poking their new, understanding noses into all matters healthy, dentists were trying out all new ideas and things to keep our teeth in our mouths and getting away with it without fear of reprisals. Some of these ideas were horribly flawed and dropped; some were not- the descendants of which are still around today. There is one however, that still seems to be struggling with a hung jury- fluoride. It’s with us every day, in our water and in our toothpaste so really, it must be good for us surely? Like anything in life though, too much of a good thing can lead to disaster. Over the past 50 years, scientists have started to question whether or not we really need all this fluoride on a daily basis. Too much of the stuff can kill you as it is toxic and it’s certainly very dangerous for children, as they end up eating more than they brush with. It can also leave traces in the brain leading to fluorosis. Then there’s the flip-side; it has also been proven to be very good for our teeth. Fluoride gives strength to the enamel of the teeth as it re-mineralises it, which is why it can be found in most toothpastes- it can also help to prevent tooth decay. Being able to make informed decisions allows us all to have the luxury of choice. There are oral products that do not come with fluoride in them, so you can choose which you think is best for you, though you need to do your homework first. To end on a more sombre note, if you limit the your fluoride intake it should give you ‘said’ protection to your teeth and see you through life; stopping it won’t make you live forever- after all most of us on average will only get to 80 anyway.