Fluoride - friend or foe?

Dr Bigg News: Fluoride - friend or foe?

Is Fluoride Safe?

The history of the development of fluoride is a fascinating one. Fluoride is found naturally in the ground water of many areas of the world, but in particular East Africa and Colorado USA. When the first European settlers arrived in Colorado, they noticed that children brought up there had brown or white marks on their teeth but very little tooth decay. It took a couple of decades for dentists to realise that it was fluoride in the water that was protecting the teeth.

Over the next 50 years, large trials were run to confirm that fluoride added to the water supply had a beneficial effect, with no adverse side effects, and the concentration needed to give maximum protection with the minimum marking of the teeth was 1ppm (parts per million). The trials showed that children in a fluoridated area have about 40% fewer fillings than those drinking non-fluoridated water.

Is Our Water Fluoridated? 

Only about 10% of water is now fluoridated in the UK, mainly in the West Midlands and the North East. The Witney/Carterton area was fluoridated in the 1970s, but due to pressure from ‘clean water societies’ most utility companies have given up adding it to the water.

Does This Matter? 

Most dentists are strongly in favour of fluoridated water, but some are moving away from the concept of mass medication, even though no one can say that our water is pure, with or without fluoride! There are other effective ways of delivering fluoride to protect our teeth and the most important is toothpaste. By ensuring that you and your family always use a fluoridated toothpaste you are gaining the maximum protection for your teeth.
  • Up to three years old use a toothpaste with a fluoride level of at least 1000ppm.
  • After three years old, everyone should use a family toothpaste that has 1350ppm to 1500ppm of fluoride.


How do I keep my teeth and gums healthy? 

  • Be careful with your diet and, in particular, don’t eat sweet things between meals
  • Visit your Dentist regularly
  • Clean between your teeth daily with interdental brushes or floss
  • Brush your teeth twice a day using a fluoridated toothpaste. 

If you would like more information about fluoride you can go to the British Dental Health Foundation website

Posted: 28 February 2017