The Fluoride Health Scare: Is Fluoride Harmful?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral. It has long been known to have benefits for oral health, which is why fluoride is included in most toothpastes, and also why many places including most of the USA and Europe have programs of community water fluoridation – meaning a carefully monitored level of fluoride is present in tap water. There are lots of studies showing why fluoride is beneficial to teeth at all stages of a person’s life, and it is thought that water fluoridation may be the reason why you see far fewer people with dentures these days than you did in previous generations, and oral health has improved on the whole in communities with fluoridated water.

Fluoride in Water
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The Scares Around Fluoride

However, there are some people who are opposed to fluoride being added to their tap water, and who believe it is harmful. With things being spread on the internet about the dangers of fluoride, it is only natural that some people, especially parents, may become concerned about what is being added to the water supply. And for others, it is seen as an infringement on their personal freedom to have additives in their water. But is there really anything to worry about?

Good or Bad
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Fluoride Doesn’t Cause Bone Cancer

One of the potential dangers of fluoride according to opponents of water fluoridation is a supposed link between high levels of fluoride and bone cancer. In 2011, a study carried out in America and approved by the National Cancer Institute revealed no link at all between bone cancer and fluoridation. This study seems to be the one that carries the most weight in the scientific community as it was the first to actually look at the levels of fluoride in the bones of the subjects.

While it is always very difficult for scientists to determine whether or not something does present a very small increase in cancer risk, there is essentially no reason to believe fluoridated water causes cancer. Most people drink fluoridated water and use fluoride toothpaste, yet bone cancer is not among the most common forms of cancer. You can find out more about the studies into the relationship between fluoride and cancer at

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Fluorosis is Trivial

Another concern the anti-fluoride community raises often is that too much fluoride can cause a condition called fluorosis. This essentially causes faint white patches on the teeth. While there are some scary looking photos of people in India with severe fluorosis floating around the internet, these people have fluorosis caused by a high level of naturally occurring fluoride in the water in their region. In communities where fluoride is added to water, the levels are carefully controlled and fluorosis is unlikely. However, even if it does occur, it poses no threat to health and the effect on the appearance of the teeth is usually so insignificant only a dentist can even tell it is there.

Fluoride offers a lot of benefits at a fairly low cost, and when you look at the reasons behind the scares, it is easy to see that they have been massively exaggerated or falsified.


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