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Is Fluoride Good or Bad for You?

Most people take in fluoride and aren't largely aware of it. They get it in the water they drink, as well as toothpaste and mouthwash.

Fluoride wasn't always in our water. Some people decided to add it in order to prevent cavities and started the program in the 1940's. Fluoride is currently an additive in about two-thirds of the area of the United States. Most other foreign nations do not add fluoride to their water system.

This year the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services lowered the recommended amount of fluoride in water due to the fact that so many people are getting far more fluoride than they use to.

Since it was first put into the water system, the prospect of getting fluoride added has been controversial. The supporters of fluoridation say that it is safe and effective and necessary for healthy teeth.

Fluoride opponents, such as the Fluoride Action Network, cite studies showing that high levels of fluoride have been linked to a number of negative health effects like bone fractures, thyroid disorders and impaired brain development and function.

One study published in the fall of 2012 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found a link between high fluoride levels found naturally in drinking water in China and elsewhere in the world, and lower IQs in children. The paper looked at the results of 27 different studies, 26 of which found a link between high-fluoride drinking water and lower IQ. The average IQ difference between high and low fluoride areas was 7 points, the study found.

So what should you do? How about a mid-point? If at all possible, avoid water that has fluoride in it. But go ahead and use toothpaste and mouthwash with fluoride. That way you only get a "spot" injection of the stuff and aren't loaded up on it all day.

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