Fluoride occurs naturally in our body as calcium fluoride; it wards off against cavities and helps develop healthy teeth. Adult females need 3 milligrams of fluoride per day, whilst males need 4 milligrams per day. Consuming more than recommended quantity can be rather dangerous for health.
Fluoride occurs naturally in water. Natural fluoride levels in water above the recommended range can raise your risk for severe fluorosis.
The common sources of fluoride are – dental products, processed foods which are manufactured using fluoridated water, fluoride-containing pesticides, fluorinated pharmaceuticals, bottled tea, mechanically deboned chicken and non stick pans.
Side Effects Of Excess Fluoride Consumption
- If you take in too much fluoride during childhood, when the teeth are still developing, you may develop dental fluorosis. The enamel of the teeth will fail to crystallize normally, thereby leading to staining of the teeth, brittle teeth and surface pitting. Children are at great risk for developing dental fluorosis, given that, this is when permanent teeth start to develop.
- Elimination from the kidneys is the chief route for inorganic fluoride to leave the body. Consequently, the kidneys are exposed to high concentrations of fluoride, thus making them susceptible to fluoride toxicity. Research and clinical trials have demonstrated that excessive amounts of fluoride in the kidneys can cause swelling as well as necrosis of the renal tubules.
- Fluoride and hydrogen ions combine to form hydrogen fluoride in the stomach. High levels of hydrogen fluoride are known to radically impair the stomach lining and as a result you can suffer from a wide array of gastrointestinal problems – erosion of the stomach lining, ulcers and lasting inflammation of the stomach.
- A major side effect of fluoride overdose is I.Q. deficit in children. An excess of fluoride during pregnancy is known to harm the brain of the fetus. A fluoride overload worsens the effects of iodine insufficiency. Iodine is very vital for optimal thyroid functioning. An inadequate intake of iodine during infancy and early childhood can cause permanent damage to the brain along with mental retardation.
- Some people experience allergic reactions to fluoride. Allergic reactions occur with topical as well as ingested fluoride. Symptoms of fluoride allergy are – skin rashes, headache, mouth ulcers, joint pains, GI upsets, and vision problems.
Treatment And Prevention For Fluoride Overdose
Prevention plays a critical role in warding off the detrimental effects of an excess of fluoride. Find out the amount of fluoride in the water source near you; it shouldn’t exceed 2 parts per million. Know what dental products you use, as well as understand your foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals too.
Usually, fluorosis of the teeth is mild and no treatment is required. Or, it may only afflict the back teeth where it cannot be seen. The appearance of teeth affected by fluorosis can be improved notably by various techniques which help mask the stains. Such techniques include:
- Tooth whitening: To get rid of surface stains; (note that bleaching could worsen the appearance of fluorosis temporarily).
- Bonding: This coats the teeth with a hard resin which bonds to the enamel.
- Veneers: These cover the front of the teeth to improve the appearance.