To add fluoride to drinking water or not! The debate is on since 1940’s. It is general practice for the government to add fluoride to the drinking water supplied. Fluoride is supposed to help good dental health and reduce the chances of tooth decay and cavities. The recommended dosage of fluoride in drinking water according to WHO is 1.5 mg/l. Any amount more than what is required can cause harm for the teeth. It can cause Fluorosis, i.e. is staining and mottling of teeth.
If left unattended this excess Fluoride in water can also cause an arthritic bone disease known as Skeletal Fluorosis. Skeletal Fluorosis in its early stages cannot be easily diagnosed and can be confused with Arthritis especially Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
In severe and advanced stages Fluorosis bears symptomatic resemblance to numerous bone and joint diseases like Osteoseclerosis, DISH, Osteodystrophy, Osteomalacia, Osteoporosis, Spondylosis, Osteodystrophy and secondary Hyperparathyroidism.
The chances of developing the disease Fluorosis and the form it will take depends on some predisposing factors like; improper diet, gastric acidity, affected Kidney functions and continuous stress.
Recent research on Fluorosis:
- Most of the studies on studying the effects of fluoride on bone strength have either have a negative effect or no effect on bone strength. Scientists have not observed any beneficial effect of fluoride on bone strength.
- Research on humans taking fluoride in drinking water has shown that there is a direct connection or association between consumption of fluoridated water and dental fluorosis and rise in bone fracture in children. Similarly there lies a relation between long term taking of fluoridated water and increase in number of hip fracture in the adults.
- Human Clinical trials including two ‘double trials’ have shown that people taking fluoride doses of 18-24 mg/day for 1 to 4 years showed increased rate of bone fracture, especially hip fracture in patients of Osteoporosis.
- Research on animals and humans has shown that fluoride is capable of reducing bone strength even before Skeletal Fluorosis sets in.
Government authorities are taking note of the ill-effects of excess of fluoride in drinking water, and action is expected soon.
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