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Fluoride is one of the most abundant elements on the crust of the earth. Since it is so common, it is found naturally in water, soil and even some foods. Fluoride can also be made in a laboratory setting. This man made fluoride is often added to toothpastes, mouthwashes and drinking water.

What are the benefits of fluoride?

Fluoride has many benefits, one of these is helping to decrease the incidence of cavities. This is why it is added to drinking water, toothpaste and mouthwash.

Can fluoride also be harmful to your health?

While it is beneficial, there are also maximum levels that a person should not exceed. If a child is exposed to high levels of fluoride while their teeth are developing, then their adult teeth may have white streaks or specks.

Another problem that can be associated with too much fluoride is less elastic bones. The bones become overly hardened and thickened, and this can result in an increase in fractures. This is often a problem in areas of the world that have over-fluoridated water. The water in these areas naturally contains too much fluoride. Since these areas are not routinely tested, then many people often do not know they have a problem.

Industry experts have their say on the matter

Experts tend to agree that fluoride is safe and continue to add it to drinking water. However, there are many people and groups that are beginning to question whether the benefits outweigh the risks associated with this practice. There are many parts of the world that do not add fluoride to their drinking water, and the instances of cavities is not significantly higher.

Testing the levels of fluoride in your water supply

No matter where you live, it is possible to test the levels of fluoride. Usually all that is needed is a small sample of water from your household tap. If you are using water from a city system, it should already be routinely tested and those results available. You will need to either contact your water company or look online at their company profile to see if they have their results posted.

Once you know what your water levels are, then you will be able to make a better decision on whether or not to supplement with fluoride. You should also discuss with your dentist and your doctor to help you decide to supplement. They can help you decide what to do based on the ages and sexes of the people in your family, and their current health histories.