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Is Fluoride Bad for You? Get the 2024 Answer

is fluoride bad for you

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. Now more than ever, it’s important to encourage your children to take care of their oral health. Simple practices like brushing and flossing can prevent cavities and gum disease. 

In 2024, most people have access to resources and information to promote better health. However, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction when it comes to fluoride. Some people say it’s harmful, while others say fluoride is great for your oral health. 

Is fluoride bad for you? Get the evidence-based answer so you can enjoy better oral health for years to come. 

The Importance of Fluoride for Dental Health

Fluoride is the best prevention measure humans can take to combat dental health problems. This mineral is known to prevent and slow cavity formation, which can lead to other oral health problems. Developed countries with fluoridated water experience far lower rates of dental decay than those without.

When Oral Health Problems Affect the Rest of Your Body

If you don’t take care of your dental health, you may experience serious health problems in other parts of your body. Poor oral hygiene is linked to heart disease, inflammation, and other negative health consequences. 

This is likely because the bacteria in your mouth travel throughout your bloodstream over time. When these bacteria can nest inside cavities and infected gums, you have a problem that can easily spiral out of control. 

Fluoride combats this problem by strengthening your tooth enamel, which keeps more “bad bacteria” out. The very minor health risks of extremely high doses of fluoride are much less serious than the health consequences of dental cavities and gum disease. 

Addressing Popular Concerns About Fluoride

You may have heard rumors online that fluoride is bad for human health. Some people oppose the addition of fluoride to tap water. It’s important to ask: Is fluoride bad for you when consumed in moderation? 

Dental Fluorosis: A Childhood Problem

In some cases, children who are exposed to high levels of fluoride can develop fluorosis. This condition causes brown and white spots to appear on the child’s permanent teeth. However, this is not dangerous and doesn’t compromise the health of children’s teeth — it’s only a cosmetic concern. 

Only children under eight years old can develop this problem. In comparison to the negative health effects of dental decay, fluorosis is a very minor health concern. 

Fluoride Regulations in Drinking Water

Fluoride concentrations in public drinking water are regulated to stay within a certain amount of parts per million (ppm). The recommended level is between 0.8 and 1 ppm in drinking water. 

You can check the fluoride levels in your drinking water to ensure they’re within safe limits. However, even when consumed in excess, fluoride doesn’t usually harm healthy children and adults.

The Real Answer to “Is Fluoride Bad for You?”

The short answer is no. The health benefits of fluoride in drinking water and toothpaste far outweigh the minor risks that come with too-high doses of fluoride. 

The amount of fluoride in public drinking water is highly regulated and deemed safe for human consumption. You don’t have to worry about fluoride toxicity in the U.S. However, you can check in with your doctor if you’re concerned. Most healthy adults and children will never experience negative health effects from fluoridated drinking water. 

Children over the age of two years should start brushing with a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste. This habit should continue throughout the rest of their lifetime. The health consequences of poor dental health are not pretty.