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What Does Fluoride Do to the Body?

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Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that plays an essential role in maintaining good oral health. While it’s commonly associated with dental care in preventing tooth decay, fluoride can have both positive and negative effects on the body depending on its concentration and exposure levels.

Let’s take a look at the common fluoride sources that we consume on a daily basis and its effects on your health:

Sources of Fluoride Exposure

Drinking Water

Fluoride is naturally present in water sources in varying degrees. In some areas, it may be necessary to add fluoride to achieve optimal levels for dental health.

Dental Products

Fluoride is a common ingredient in toothpaste, mouthwash, and dental treatments. When used as directed, these products contribute to oral health without posing significant risks. However, swallowing excessive amounts of toothpaste, especially by children, can lead to fluoride toxicity.

Dietary Sources

Certain foods and beverages contain varying levels of fluoride. Tea, seafood, and some vegetables can contribute to overall fluoride intake. While these sources generally provide fluoride at safe levels, excessive consumption may contribute to elevated fluoride levels.

Tooth Whitening

In tooth whitening procedures, the addition of fluoride aims to counteract the potential demineralizing effects of bleaching agents. This helps maintain the structural integrity of the enamel during the whitening process.

Potential Concerns and Risks

Dental Fluorosis

Dental fluorosis is a cosmetic issue that occurs when developing teeth are exposed to excessive fluoride, leading to discoloration or pitting of the enamel. This is primarily a concern during tooth development in childhood and is more aesthetic than functional.

Skeletal Fluorosis

Chronic exposure to high levels of fluoride, usually through drinking water, can lead to skeletal fluorosis. This condition affects the bones and joints, causing pain and limited mobility. Skeletal fluorosis is rare and typically associated with prolonged exposure to fluoride concentrations well above recommended levels.

Neurological Concerns

Some studies have explored potential links between high fluoride exposure and neurological effects. However, the evidence is inconclusive, and most research has focused on areas with naturally occurring fluoride levels much higher than those recommended for dental health.


Some people might experience allergic reactions or sensitivity to fluoride-containing products. It’s essential to be aware of any pre-existing allergies before undergoing tooth whitening in Westlake.

In conclusion, though fluoride promotes oral health, chronic exposure to it can be dangerous. When used appropriately, its benefits far outweigh the risks.

From routine check-ups to specialized treatments, experience the highest standard of dental care with Duhon Family Dentistry. Give us a call at (337) 221-0072 or visit our website to book an appointment with our Westlake dentist.

Posted on Apr 22, 2024

Image Credit: File ID 16991574 | © Kurhan |


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