Fluoride compounds are salts that naturally form in ground and enters ground water. Many communities add fluoride in traces to promote dental health. Fluorine is beneficial for dental health but excess leads to bone fractures and dental fluorosis.
How does fluoride get into drinking water?
Most water suppliers contain naturally occurring fluoride. Substances such as sodium fluoride and fluorosilicates are easily dissolved in ground and it enters into ground water as it passes through rocks and gaps between rocks and pores. Communities add fluoride to drinking water in adequate amounts to promote dental health.
How fluoride effects body?
Drinking water containing fluoride enters into the stomach. 70-90% of the ingested fluoride is absorbed in stomach. Unabsorbed fluoride enters into intestine where it absorbs remaining. Once it gets absorbed, it enters into systemic circulation and distributed throughout the body. It retains more in calcium rich areas such as bones and teeth. Thereby it shows effect on teeth and bone. Finally unabsorbed fluoride excretes from body through kidneys and impairs kidney functioning.
Effects of fluoride in drinking water
Effects of long term exposure to fluoride shows serious effects on humans. Fluoridation effects teeth, bones and it increases the risk of cancer.
- Effect on teeth: Communities add adequate amount of fluoride to drinking water to promote dental health. The severity of effect depends on the concentration of fluoride in drinking water. Drinking fluoride containing water causes dental fluorosis in children.
- Effect on bones: Drinking water that contains elevated levels of fluoride leads to crippling of bones. Exposure to high concentrations of fluoride, leads to osteoporosis in humans. It also affects pregnant women. It reaches womb through placenta and affects baby. The effect of fluoride on bones include:
- Crippling skeletal fluorosis
- Ligamentous and tendeneous calcification
- Extreme bone deformity
- Fluoride increases the risk if intake of fluoride is above 6mg/day
- Cancer: Excess fluoride absorption leads to cancer. But very less evidences shown than fluoride intake increases the risk of cancer. The cancers associated with fluoridation are lung cancer and bladder cancer.
- Kidneys: Fluoride excretes from the body through kidneys. It impairs renal functioning. On excess exposure it increases the risk of kidney failure.
- Brain: Fluoride shows its affects on brain and lowers intelligence quotient.
- Thyroid: Lowers functioning of thyroid and decreases the release of hormones such as thyroxine. Thereby it causes thyroidism in humans on exposure to fluoride.