Fluoride is a well-known ingredient in children's toothpastes. The mineral would ensure strong teeth and therefore healthy teeth. But on the other hand, fluoride also seems to be toxic, and can even affect the brains of our little ones. What?
Fluoride poison or not?
Online – with so many topics – a real tweekamp has emerged. One group claims that fluoride is true poison, and the other group, including dentists, believes it is very important to protect your teeth with fluoride. The camp that claims that fluoride is poison is based on the fact that pure fluoride is a toxic industrial waste product that is released during the production of phosphate fertilizers and aluminum. According to this camp, you really have to avoid fluoride, especially for your children! Other sources again say that fluorine in the form of fluorides is a trace element that can be found in nature. The Nutrition Center explains it clearly: Fluoride is a trace element that is present in teeth and bones. Pure fluorine is a toxic gas. In the diet, fluorine is always bound to another substance, such as sodium or calcium. It is then no longer toxic and is called fluoride. Fluoride is found in almost all foods.
Fluoride good for the teeth
Scientific research has shown that fluoride protects your teeth and also helps prevent cavities. But this only applies if you apply it to your teeth, and not if you take it. Fluor tablets, which were often given to children, do not work. And with excessive use, fluoride can indeed be harmful. In addition, fluoride is absorbed by your body while brushing your teeth, even if you don't swallow anything.
Fluoride harmful with too much use
If you use a lot of fluoride – more than the recommended amount – for a long time, this can damage your teeth. These so-called zebra teeth show brown and white spots and stripes. The Nutrition Center says that your kidneys, bones, nerves and muscles can also be affected. In addition, a 2012 study has shown that fluoride exposure can cause IQ to fall by as much as 7 points. In addition, the study found that it has a negative effect on cognitive development, and that the use of fluoride during pregnancy can influence the development of the baby's brain. Wow!
What is the recommended amount?
The European Food Safety Authority has set the following limits as a maximum:
- 1.5 milligrams per day for children from 1 to 3 years
- 2.5 milligrams per day for children aged 4-8 years
- 5 milligrams per day for children aged 9-14
- 7 milligrams per day for adults
Risk of poisoning
Taking one third tube of fluoride toothpaste for adults of 75 milliliters (ie 25 milliliters), or an entire tube of fluoride toothpaste for toddlers can lead to poisoning.
Symptoms include abdominal cramps, muscle cramps and arrhythmias. Have your child vomit as soon as possible and let him or her drink a lot of milk. And always go to the hospital. A larger amount of fluoride – a three-quarters or a complete tube – is even life-threatening. This amount of fluoride can kill a child. It is then important to go to the hospital as soon as possible to have the stomach pumped and flushed.
Disclaimer on tubes
The danger of fluoride is also the reason why, for 10 years, toothpaste producers have been using the warning text “Do not use more toothpaste than the size of a pea for children six years of age or younger. Make sure they swallow as little toothpaste as possible. Consult a (dental) doctor if your child uses fluoride in a different form. ”Are on the tube.
There are many pros and cons, but ultimately the parent must decide for himself whether brushing with fluoride is a good choice for his or her child or not.