7

votes

Clear Scientific evidence that fluoride is/isn't good for teeth?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 08, 2011 at 4:51 PM

What evidence do we have that fluoride is good for teeth in any way? Is there anything besides epidemiological studies? Do these studies include all data points so they were accurate across all populations? Or were only a few locations used in order to skew the data? We already know that fluoride can actually damage teeth via fluorosis. Seems weird to me that something that is known to damage teeth is supposed to be good for teeth. I have also heard it said that fluoride slows eruption of teeth in children, thus making it look like very young children get less cavities using fluoride. Any one have any links to scientific research behind any of these claims? Is the research behind fluoride good quality is or is more like the research behind the fat-is-bad story?

A3c56c85290f748410a6f340ddd552b3

(321)

on April 04, 2014
at 06:34 PM

This is a much better comment than what I just heard from my hygenist: "teeth are made from fluoride!". Yeah, whatever, flunkie. I definitely remember the fluorine chemistry attributes and how it wants to bond, bond, bond - the 'slut' of elements. :-)

6ec8d30130a6fb274871314533b5536b

(581)

on May 01, 2013
at 04:32 AM

I wasn't saying anything definitive but wanted to put in my two cents. That's why I said "not completely sure" and "possibly"... but this place cites some interesting research and there are several other links throughout the site that leads you to scientific studies done... http://www.fluoridealert.org/studies/luke-1997/

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on November 05, 2012
at 05:50 PM

I disagree.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on November 05, 2012
at 05:50 PM

This thread is about scientific evidence. If you've got a study or some kind of evidence that shows this, please share.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on December 02, 2011
at 03:31 PM

From the paper cited in the blog post: "Emerging evidence now demonstrates that antioxidants in green tea (epigallocatechins gallate, EGCG) acting as MMP (matrix metalloproteinase) inhibitors are significantly more effective than sodium fluoride at preventing acid erosion." ... makes me happy I'm currently drinking a cup of green tea!

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on December 02, 2011
at 03:16 PM

@Jenny: Thanks for the information. The balance between hard enough but not too brittle makes a lot of sense. I did a pubmed search for "fluorapatite dental caries" and a lot of interesting abstracts showed up. It seems that it's generally agreed that fluoride is beneficial, and the question is what dose. Unfortunately, I don't have access to the full articles. It also seems that if people are worried about fluoride in their water supply, they can increase intake of calcium to outcompete it.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on December 02, 2011
at 02:30 PM

@Sara I also had a pretty wild micriobio prof, who is convinced that bacterial damage in the mouth could enter the blood stream, and was a hidden perpetrator of heart disease. His solution: use of a small amount of topical fluoride as needed and eliminate fruit juice from the diet (especially for children getting their adult teeth).

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on December 02, 2011
at 02:28 PM

@Sara Yeah, we looked at this in ochem 2, and microbio. Ingesting it via water was just a solution to allow repeat applications. In ochem, we looked at how the reaction increases the "rigidity" of the tooth enamel, which is beneficial because it's those "soft spots" that allow for bacterial to bind/react. However, too much topical application of fluoride yellows the teeth and actually causes brittleness (over-hardening). Sounds like a balance between not enough (tooth decay) and too much (tooth brittleness).

B22e5946e28a1845a6006737e59edfc6

(2437)

on August 25, 2011
at 01:38 AM

Citation?......

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on January 16, 2011
at 01:12 AM

True, they haven't been able to find any cavities in me for the last 22 years (and I am suspicious of the ones they supposedly found when in my teens). However, instead they seem very eager to yank out all my wisdom teeth, because one is a bit sideways and 'may as well do the others while we are in there!' I don't think so! However, I do think my gums could be a bit healthier.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on January 16, 2011
at 01:06 AM

The big difference for me is that water has clear scientific evidence behind some of it being good for you. What I want to see is any evidence for fluoride being good for you. What I am seeing is clear scientific evidence of it being bad, but not much in the way of evidence for it being good. Sure, it COULD be good, but the evidence for it is weighted very differently than it is for water.

25ed4acfb632d928507f8673bcb0923a

(650)

on January 12, 2011
at 12:52 AM

I'm not sure about the reasoning leading to your question. "Seems weird to me that something that is known to damage teeth is supposed to be good for teeth." The hidden assumption behind this line of thought is that something bad for a person can't be good for a person. But this is not true. The most extreme example: Drinking water has been known to kill people (I recall the radio talk-show water drinking contest), yet drinking water is necessary for life. Could it not be that fluoride in small doses is beneficial yet harmful in larger doses?

25ed4acfb632d928507f8673bcb0923a

(650)

on January 12, 2011
at 12:42 AM

No. Scroll down. There are many citations under the heading "Excerpts from the Scientific Literature - Topical Vs. Systemic".

Fe6d4936810372189c6ee50d8a532ed2

(180)

on January 11, 2011
at 02:02 AM

Have you checked PubMed.gov? There are too many research articles to site. But again, Someone as health conscious as yourself, is probably a very low risk for caries, and therefore, it is not necessary for you.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on January 10, 2011
at 05:48 AM

Bsunde, looks like that is just an interview with no specifically cited research.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on January 10, 2011
at 05:48 AM

Well I too would like to see some of the research about the supposed benefits of adding toxin to my body. But the prob is, I can't seem to find it!

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on January 10, 2011
at 05:40 AM

I think dentists simply repeat what they have been told. Few if any have checked any of the research. Docs do the same when they recommend statins and a lowfat diet. It might be good to mention lack of proper crystalization of the enamal, as happens with fluorosis, may in fact weaken the tooth's ability to fight of cavities. If 41 person of children are showing signs of fluorosis, is fluoride really helping more than hurting?

Fe6d4936810372189c6ee50d8a532ed2

(180)

on January 09, 2011
at 07:44 PM

Dentists don't stand to gain much 'work' from preventing decay. I sure hate it when I see children come in with rampant decay, requiring multiple visits/injections for treatment.

Fe6d4936810372189c6ee50d8a532ed2

(180)

on January 09, 2011
at 07:42 PM

From what I read in that, any harmfull side effects were bases on at least twice the recommended level and severe renal insufficiency. "Evidence on caries prevention at water concentrations below the SMCL of 2 mg/L is not reviewed." Unless I missed something...

25ed4acfb632d928507f8673bcb0923a

(650)

on January 09, 2011
at 05:51 AM

Try some of these links: http://www.fluoridealert.org/health/teeth/caries/topical-systemic.html#refs Surely some of these review articles should lead us to the actual research studies?

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on January 09, 2011
at 04:23 AM

Marbowqui, I'd really like to see some links to the actual research. Otherwise it's just he said/she said. We have all seen countless times when abstracts or claimed outcomes were not well correlated to actual research outcomes. And what does that mean-increase salivary concentration? Does that mean you salivate more or does that mean that you have less water compared to other things in the saliva? What I am also trying to understand is if it makes your teeth stronger, then why/how does it also cause fluorosis?

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on January 09, 2011
at 01:27 AM

Might be mildly biased source?

Fe6d4936810372189c6ee50d8a532ed2

(180)

on January 09, 2011
at 01:05 AM

Ingesting fluoride, or systemic fluoride, makes the developing/calcifying (unerupted) teeth harder & less prone to decay. Yes, this is also where fluorsis can occur. The ADA has also lowered its recommended levels of supplementation. New research shows that systemic fluoride can also increase the salivary concentration; therefore, helping to remineralize the surface enamel as well. There are countless studies showing the benefits of topical fluoride. OF THOSE AT RISK.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on January 09, 2011
at 12:42 AM

Ironically, right after posting this question and leaving the house, I saw a similar article in the morning paper. 41% of adolescents is what I remember seeing. That's almost half of the young population having damage from fluoride intake! Much bigger numbers than I had any clue about. For a long time, they have been saying it's only a few percent of the population that experiences fluorosis. And if it does that to the teeth, what is happening with the rest of the bones and body? As far as I can see, no one is checking because 'everyone knows' fluoride is good for you..

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on January 09, 2011
at 12:38 AM

Prob is, I just couldn't find any data for the topical application either. I have heard varous good sounding things both for and against, but no data and no research.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on January 09, 2011
at 12:36 AM

I think many would agree the drinking water thing is totally not proben, but even for topical application, I just could't find any decent research to argue for it. Seems like it's just one of those things everyone knows or assumes they know but no one really questions.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on January 08, 2011
at 11:34 PM

is the topical treatment a hormesis effect? like making your bones stronger by beating(stressing) on them?

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on January 08, 2011
at 07:21 PM

This was just in the news this week ( http://eatdrinkbetter.com/2011/01/07/too-much-fluoride-in-the-drinking-water/ ). The U.S. government is reducing the recommended amount of fluoride in drinking water due to 41% of U.S. children having mild fluorosis. Hmmm...changing their recommendation? I thought the government was infallible.

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11 Answers

2
Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on December 02, 2011
at 02:34 PM

Dr. John Sorrentino DDS just began a blog and he just led with this very topic. Take a peek.
http://www.sorrentinodental.com/Blog.html?entry=the-inflammatory-model-of-tooth

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on December 02, 2011
at 03:31 PM

From the paper cited in the blog post: "Emerging evidence now demonstrates that antioxidants in green tea (epigallocatechins gallate, EGCG) acting as MMP (matrix metalloproteinase) inhibitors are significantly more effective than sodium fluoride at preventing acid erosion." ... makes me happy I'm currently drinking a cup of green tea!

2
7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on December 02, 2011
at 02:19 PM

I had wondered by what mechanism fluoride was supposed to help prevent cavities so I asked my dentist. Enamel is made of hydroxylapatite, Ca5(PO4)3(OH), and the fluoride ion can replace the hydroxy (OH) group. The fluoride ion makes a tighter bond than a hydroxy group, leading to a more stable compound, more resistant to acid secreted from tooth bacteria. You can think about the reason why fluoride generally isn't so good in the rest of the body is because of that same bond strength. Fluoride really wants to form bonds, so it can disrupt other biological reactions in the body. My dentist thought that ingesting fluoride wasn't helpful for our teeth, but taking a fluoride rinse is helpful for people prone to cavities who didn't have fluoride when they were developing their teeth. The idea is, fluoride would be beneficial systemically during tooth formation in infants so that much of the enamel is created with the stronger fluorapatite. But after the teeth are developed (which happens before they break through the gum), systemic fluoride doesn't help. If you didn't get fluoride at that time period, then as an adult, if you're prone to cavities, you might find topical fluoride useful because it can be used in your enamel as it gets remineralized to form the fluorapatite instead of the hydroxylapatite. (Remember that, like bones, teeth are in a constant flux of demineralizing and remineralizing, dependent on pH and other factors.) But because it's only ever on the surface, it would require repeat applications. At least, that's the theory as I understand it from my conversation with my dentist.

I didn't ask her for research articles, but I think a pubmed search for hydroxylapatite and fluoride or just fluorapatite would find some interesting studies. I vaguely remember a New Zealand dentist finding that systemic fluoride caused ridges in teeth and epidemiologically associated with increased cavities, so the actual outcome of systemic fluoride might vary from the theory. There's also the issue of how "promiscuous" fluoride might be once it forms fluorapatite, but my ochem is shakey and I never took pchem. Hopefully that gives people a good starting point for looking into this stuff further.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on December 02, 2011
at 02:30 PM

@Sara I also had a pretty wild micriobio prof, who is convinced that bacterial damage in the mouth could enter the blood stream, and was a hidden perpetrator of heart disease. His solution: use of a small amount of topical fluoride as needed and eliminate fruit juice from the diet (especially for children getting their adult teeth).

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on December 02, 2011
at 02:28 PM

@Sara Yeah, we looked at this in ochem 2, and microbio. Ingesting it via water was just a solution to allow repeat applications. In ochem, we looked at how the reaction increases the "rigidity" of the tooth enamel, which is beneficial because it's those "soft spots" that allow for bacterial to bind/react. However, too much topical application of fluoride yellows the teeth and actually causes brittleness (over-hardening). Sounds like a balance between not enough (tooth decay) and too much (tooth brittleness).

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on December 02, 2011
at 03:16 PM

@Jenny: Thanks for the information. The balance between hard enough but not too brittle makes a lot of sense. I did a pubmed search for "fluorapatite dental caries" and a lot of interesting abstracts showed up. It seems that it's generally agreed that fluoride is beneficial, and the question is what dose. Unfortunately, I don't have access to the full articles. It also seems that if people are worried about fluoride in their water supply, they can increase intake of calcium to outcompete it.

A3c56c85290f748410a6f340ddd552b3

(321)

on April 04, 2014
at 06:34 PM

This is a much better comment than what I just heard from my hygenist: "teeth are made from fluoride!". Yeah, whatever, flunkie. I definitely remember the fluorine chemistry attributes and how it wants to bond, bond, bond - the 'slut' of elements. :-)

2
25ed4acfb632d928507f8673bcb0923a

(650)

on January 08, 2011
at 10:23 PM

From what I remember when I looked into this before, fluoride can be shown to prevent cavities when it is applied topically to the teeth. One of many ways to get fluoride on the teeth is to put it in water. However, actually ingesting fluoride offers no further benefits and can lead to fluorsis.

Fe6d4936810372189c6ee50d8a532ed2

(180)

on January 09, 2011
at 01:05 AM

Ingesting fluoride, or systemic fluoride, makes the developing/calcifying (unerupted) teeth harder & less prone to decay. Yes, this is also where fluorsis can occur. The ADA has also lowered its recommended levels of supplementation. New research shows that systemic fluoride can also increase the salivary concentration; therefore, helping to remineralize the surface enamel as well. There are countless studies showing the benefits of topical fluoride. OF THOSE AT RISK.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on January 09, 2011
at 12:36 AM

I think many would agree the drinking water thing is totally not proben, but even for topical application, I just could't find any decent research to argue for it. Seems like it's just one of those things everyone knows or assumes they know but no one really questions.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on January 08, 2011
at 11:34 PM

is the topical treatment a hormesis effect? like making your bones stronger by beating(stressing) on them?

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on January 09, 2011
at 04:23 AM

Marbowqui, I'd really like to see some links to the actual research. Otherwise it's just he said/she said. We have all seen countless times when abstracts or claimed outcomes were not well correlated to actual research outcomes. And what does that mean-increase salivary concentration? Does that mean you salivate more or does that mean that you have less water compared to other things in the saliva? What I am also trying to understand is if it makes your teeth stronger, then why/how does it also cause fluorosis?

1
1a845bd542b099585284f8e1c1951cd2

on April 17, 2013
at 04:00 AM

I brushed my teeth a lot while growing up, using fluoride toothpaste, and had a lot of cavities through my early 20's. They also became slightly yellowed. Then I started just using no fluoride mouthwash to brush my teeth with and haven't had cavities for 30 years. The only problems I've had were with old filings and corners of teeth breaking off (in my 30's) where the old filings made the enamel thin. I had them replaced with gold filings. I've been using anti-plaque/anti-gingivitis mouth rinse (no fluoride) for the last 10-12 years and the dentist I use says my teeth look better every time I have a cleaning. And my gums are in great shape. It's somewhat anecdotal, but you might want to try it for a couple years and see if the condition of your teeth improves. I also hardly ever drink fluoridated water, I floss often, and never did smoke or drink alcohol. I DO NOT want dentures, so I'm trying to make my teeth last as long as the rest of me.................

1
0955ac19450d808cddc137a1be4f71f0

on November 05, 2012
at 05:39 PM

When I was younger, my sister and I had differences in brushing our teeth. I wiped my teeth with a towel or a dry tooth brush and my sister would use flouride toothpaste. At the age of 13, and my sister being 10, went to the dentist for the first time. She had 17 cavities. I had no cavities. I did a test when I was younger and didn't know it.

0
C2906fee69dccb9ef417de777f7948f5

on December 10, 2011
at 03:26 PM

Some of you have hit upon the truth - that Fluoride only benefits young forming teeth. It is actually quite harmful to adults and especially older adults. IMHO, the western world has been victimized by shrewd opportunists who carefully constructed "scientific" evidence of fluoride benefits. If you want to know what's behind some "movement" in society, always follow the money. The aluminum industry needs to sell large quantities of fluoride (by product of their processing) so promoting dental benefits was a wonderful way to create a "demand".

Here is an excellent review from a Brit in which he cites several formal studies:

http://www.second-opinions.co.uk/fluorideharm.html

This is an excellent review of how sodium fluoride interferes with a vital compound in the body: acetylcholine. http://www.arthritistrust.org/Articles/Sodium%20Fluoride%20The%20Obedience%20Drug.pdf

Please read extensively on this issue - there is a deliberately large body of obfuscated information regarding fluoride in public water supplies in order to sway public acceptance of their municipalities buying and using fluoride from eager suppliers.

0
6ec8d30130a6fb274871314533b5536b

(581)

on August 25, 2011
at 11:49 AM

I've read that fluoride builds up in the Pineal gland, but I'm not completely sure what the significance of the Pineal gland is, other than that it produces serotonin and melatonin. So, based on that information alone, it seems like fluoride could possibly have an affect on a person's sleep and wake patterns.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on November 05, 2012
at 05:50 PM

This thread is about scientific evidence. If you've got a study or some kind of evidence that shows this, please share.

6ec8d30130a6fb274871314533b5536b

(581)

on May 01, 2013
at 04:32 AM

I wasn't saying anything definitive but wanted to put in my two cents. That's why I said "not completely sure" and "possibly"... but this place cites some interesting research and there are several other links throughout the site that leads you to scientific studies done... http://www.fluoridealert.org/studies/luke-1997/

0
C5c209d4202adc6ce0270ec02b21ef2f

on August 25, 2011
at 12:30 AM

no comment... (really)

B22e5946e28a1845a6006737e59edfc6

(2437)

on August 25, 2011
at 01:38 AM

Citation?......

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on November 05, 2012
at 05:50 PM

I disagree.

0
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on January 09, 2011
at 05:07 AM

Found this link: http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11571&page=103 Lots of research. See the links to the right on specific subjects like reproductive harm, cognitive side effects, etc. Even if fluoride makes my teeth a bit harder, all those other potential side effects should probably be considered. Fluoride acts throughout the body, not just on the teeth.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on January 10, 2011
at 05:48 AM

Well I too would like to see some of the research about the supposed benefits of adding toxin to my body. But the prob is, I can't seem to find it!

Fe6d4936810372189c6ee50d8a532ed2

(180)

on January 11, 2011
at 02:02 AM

Have you checked PubMed.gov? There are too many research articles to site. But again, Someone as health conscious as yourself, is probably a very low risk for caries, and therefore, it is not necessary for you.

Fe6d4936810372189c6ee50d8a532ed2

(180)

on January 09, 2011
at 07:42 PM

From what I read in that, any harmfull side effects were bases on at least twice the recommended level and severe renal insufficiency. "Evidence on caries prevention at water concentrations below the SMCL of 2 mg/L is not reviewed." Unless I missed something...

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on January 16, 2011
at 01:12 AM

True, they haven't been able to find any cavities in me for the last 22 years (and I am suspicious of the ones they supposedly found when in my teens). However, instead they seem very eager to yank out all my wisdom teeth, because one is a bit sideways and 'may as well do the others while we are in there!' I don't think so! However, I do think my gums could be a bit healthier.

0
Fe6d4936810372189c6ee50d8a532ed2

on January 09, 2011
at 01:22 AM

The American Dental Association has a very easy to read PDF called 'Fluoride Facts'. It should answer many questions.

Fe6d4936810372189c6ee50d8a532ed2

(180)

on January 09, 2011
at 07:44 PM

Dentists don't stand to gain much 'work' from preventing decay. I sure hate it when I see children come in with rampant decay, requiring multiple visits/injections for treatment.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on January 09, 2011
at 01:27 AM

Might be mildly biased source?

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on January 10, 2011
at 05:40 AM

I think dentists simply repeat what they have been told. Few if any have checked any of the research. Docs do the same when they recommend statins and a lowfat diet. It might be good to mention lack of proper crystalization of the enamal, as happens with fluorosis, may in fact weaken the tooth's ability to fight of cavities. If 41 person of children are showing signs of fluorosis, is fluoride really helping more than hurting?

0
D0578c3826123f66a80b034cd3e78816

(565)

on January 08, 2011
at 10:32 PM

I believe fluoride is supposed to strengthen the enamel of teeth when applied topically. Besides this, fluoride seems to have no benefit so using a fluoride mouthwash makes sense but ingesting fluoride into the body through putting it in the water does not and, as you mentioned, can lead to fluorosis. Anyway, the real reason fluoride is in the water is because aluminum manufacturers found it was a convenient way to get rid of their waste products. The so-called dental benefit was just a way for the government to justify it.

25ed4acfb632d928507f8673bcb0923a

(650)

on January 12, 2011
at 12:42 AM

No. Scroll down. There are many citations under the heading "Excerpts from the Scientific Literature - Topical Vs. Systemic".

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on January 09, 2011
at 12:38 AM

Prob is, I just couldn't find any data for the topical application either. I have heard varous good sounding things both for and against, but no data and no research.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on January 10, 2011
at 05:48 AM

Bsunde, looks like that is just an interview with no specifically cited research.

25ed4acfb632d928507f8673bcb0923a

(650)

on January 09, 2011
at 05:51 AM

Try some of these links: http://www.fluoridealert.org/health/teeth/caries/topical-systemic.html#refs Surely some of these review articles should lead us to the actual research studies?

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