19 Mar 2011

Daily Echo - The facts about fluoride

The facts about fluoride
I am a retired community pharmacist and will give my opinion based on fact. After fluoride toothpaste was first introduced, not every make contained sodium fluoride, but eventually they all did, bar one.
It was discovered, after a certain time lapse, that the amount of dental care was showing a reduction, which I am sure any dentist would confirm. American soldiers at war in Vietnam were given
a fluoride compound to paint on their teeth to protect them.
By applying fluoride, typically, very little is absorbed into the system and, consequently, it does not enter the growth cycle, affecting composition of teeth and bones, especially in young developing infants. However, parents do have a choice. They can walk into a pharmacy, and ask for fluoride tablets. My Portchester pharmacy used to stock them. The packs are small tubs of 200 very low-strength tablets for infants, with directions on dosage for different ages, for use in areas where the water is known not to be fluoridated. It is then the decision of the parents: they have control.
If fluoride is taken in drinking water, it may be calcium fluoride, or a compound which will link with calcium. It is not only deposited in teeth, but in bones, which will lessen the strength of bone material.
For healthy teeth and bones, children should be given milk every day, a rich source of calcium. Schoolchildren used to be given milk at school every day, but that was stopped in the 1980s.
My grandchildren, now aged three, five and seven, were started using a soft toothbrush and children's fluoride toothpaste, twice a day, as soon as they had teeth. The problem is educating the parents who don't do this. Instead of spending money on a risky experiment, it could be used to send information leaflets, through schools, to the parents.
Retired community pharmacist.

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