Is fluoride in water killing people?

Fluoridation of teeth

The element fluorine in its pure (gas) form is actually highly toxic. Also Fluoride are in large quantities toxic - However, it is practically impossible to get poisoned by overdosing on fluoride in everyday life.

For example, a child weighing 15 kilograms would have to consume 250 mg fluoride. That would be 300 fluoride tablets or a whole large tube of toothpaste at once. For poisoning by salt with added fluoride, a toddler would have to ingest 240 grams and an adult 1.1 kilograms.

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) advocates the use of fluoride-containing dental care products and fluoridated table salt. Stiftung Warentest and science also agree that the use of fluoride-containing dental care products to prevent tooth decay in children does not cause bone damage - contrary to what is often feared. For this to happen, fluoride would have to be extremely overdosed for decades.

If too much fluoride is stored in the teeth, however, this can lead to what is known as dental fluorosis. Their symptoms are white or yellowish-brownish discoloration on the teeth.

Dental fluorosis occurs mainly in children who have consumed more than twice the recommended amount of fluoride before the age of six. Even during the rest of the maturation phase of the teeth (up to around 12 years), too much fluoride consumed can lead to white spots on permanent teeth. From a dental point of view, however, these are harmless and mostly a purely cosmetic problem.

As a guideline, children under six should not consume more than 0.05 to 0.07 mg of fluoride per kilogram of body weight per day.

Avoid side effects

In order to avoid an overdose of fluoride, one must first have a good overview of the amount consumed. That means: In addition to the daily amount of salt in food, you should also know the fluoride content of the drinking water. This can vary greatly from region to region. You can obtain information on this from the water management office.

The fluoride content of different types of mineral water from the supermarket can also differ greatly. According to German law, water with a fluoride content of 1 mg / liter and above must be labeled as "containing fluoride". Also from 1.5mg / liter, the water must also be labeled as "not suitable for babies and children under 7 years". From 5 mg / liter, a warning must be given on the label that the water may generally only be used in limited quantities.

When preparing baby food, you should only use mineral water that is labeled accordingly. The fluoride content is then below 0.7 mg / liter. You can find an overview of the fluoride content of common types of mineral water here.

It is recommended to use only one form of internal (systemic) fluoridation in addition to toothpaste containing fluoride. So if you season, for example, with table salt with fluoride, you should usually not take additional fluoride tablets.

In any case, it is advisable to discuss the fluoridation with the doctor individually for each case and to adapt it to the personal circumstances.