Maintaining Dental Health: The Side Effects of Fluoride

If you maintain your dental health, your teeth may be exposed to excessive fluoride. This changes the calcium, the function of the mitochondria and the gene expression in the cells. However, there is a novel explanation for how fluorosis, a condition caused by overexposure to childhood fluoride.

Maintain dental health and limit fluoride

toothbrush toothpaste dental health care fluoride side effects fluorose

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps prevent cavities by promoting mineralization and making tooth enamel more acid-resistant. People add it to drinking water all over the world. However, health ministries recommend a value of 0.7 ppm. All toothpastes that have a seal of approval contain fluoride. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named water fluoridation one of the ten major public health achievements of the 20th century because it helps reduce tooth decay.

dental care child in dental practice

While low levels of fluoride help strengthen and protect tooth enamel, too much of it can cause fluorosis. This is a discoloration of the teeth, usually with opaque white spots, lines or speckled tooth enamel and poor mineralization. Fluorosis occurs when children are exposed to an elevated level of fluoride during the critical window in which their teeth form between birth and about nine years. This can actually increase the risk of tooth decay. A survey found that around 25 percent of the population examined had some degree of fluorosis.

To study the molecular basis of fluorosis, the researchers analyzed the effects of tooth enamel exposure to fluoride. They then assessed the influence of fluoride on calcium in the cells, as it plays a role in the mineralization of the tooth enamel.

research results

X-ray of teeth with diagnosis by the dentist

The scientists found that exposure of rodent tooth enamel to fluoride led to calcium dysregulation. In addition, fluoride disrupted mitochondrial function, which changed energy production. This gave the researchers a promising mechanistic view of how fluorosis develops. If the cells have to form heavily calcified tooth enamel and are still able to deal with calcium due to the exposure to too much fluoride, this is reflected in the tooth enamel.

The researchers then repeated the study experiment with early-stage kidney cells in humans. However, they did not see the same effects when they exposed the kidney cells to fluoride. This suggests that enamel cells differ from others that form tissues in other parts of the body.

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