In 1951, the United States began to add fluoride to the public water supply, and by 2006, 61.9% of the US population was receiving fluoridated water. Fluoride, an ion of the element fluorine, has been thought to improve dental hygiene by promoting tooth remineralization, reducing bacterial acid production, and hardening teeth. However, recent research disputes these claims, arguing fluoridated water causes fluorosis, and subsequently tooth decay, and dangerously impacts other parts of the body.
— Aya Abitbul, Nia Creator
Fluoride has become a boogieman for some "health conscious" people, however it's clearly effective at preventing cavities into adulthood, and there's little evidence to suggest that at the right dose, there are negative consequences.
The questions that remain are around dosage and alternatives. Too much fluoride can cause fluorosis, and some populations are at risk simply due to natural groundwater.
Given other advancements in dental care, fluoride isn't as needed as it used to be, as well.
The bottom line, therefore, seems to be that for some people (kids especially), fluoridating water is a good thing. For many, it's unnecessary, and for some, there's already too much. If you're concerned, see what your current water levels are and talk to your dentist and doctor about it.
The research from this nia suggests that there is an overall healthy balance regarding fluoride intake. There is a likely chance that fluoride is perhaps one of the most effective and reasonably affordable ways to prevent serious tooth decay throughout life.
However, certain research raises cause for concern. As the nia suggests, too much fluoride can possibly cause bone damage and brain damage, and at the least, fluorosis, a form of tooth decay. Essentially, this nia outlines two extremes of issues that can happen with too much or too little fluoride intake, thus suggesting a balanced intake is the best way to optimize the health benefits of fluoride.
This Nia shows that there are definitely some areas of concern when it comes to the fluoridation of drinking water. While it has been shown that fluoride helps protect both children's and adult teeth, there are many possible side effects. The link between aluminum absorption and Alzheimer's is one I would like seen researched further.
Furthermore, I am slightly concerned about being overexposed to fluoride from the combination of fluoride in drinking water and in other products I consume. Overexposure can have negative effects on teeth (fluorosis) as well as the skeletal system. So, while I don't want drinking water to stop by fluoridated entirely, perhaps optimum levels need to be reevaluated.
From reading the research in the Nia, I am convinced that fluoride is mostly beneficial for teeth and aids in preventing tooth decay. However, I am wary of the how fluoride can endanger our brains by encouraging more aluminum absorption, and that people living in a fluorosis area is related to having a lower IQ. So, while fluoride seems to help teeth, I'm not convinced of its overall benefits to our health.
Although there is evidence for fluoride reducing tooth decay in children and adults, there seems to be many more health concerns surrounding fluoride. Children may have a greater chance for developing dental fluorosis when fluoride concentration in the water supply reaches a certain level, and excessive fluoride ingestion poisons hormones in pregnant women’s fetus. Not to mention, fluoride encourages aluminum absorption that damages the brain and could possibly be connected to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. To me, fluoride seems to add more risks to our health than benefits.
It seems to me as though the costs of using fluoride outweigh the benefits. The fact that it can reduce our likelihood of tooth decay to me does not justify the negative effects that it can have on our brains and other parts of our bodies, especially in children. Additionally, the evidence does not all point toward the impact on tooth decay being overwhelmingly positive, with residents of countries with fluoridated water not necessarily having healthier teeth than those drinking unfluoridated water. I think steering clear of fluoride would be the smartest way to go for our health.