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?
asked byEva (20807)
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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.
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.
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.
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.................
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.