Water fluoridation contributes to fluoride overexposure

Patil MM, Lakhkar BB, Patil SS. Curse of Fluorosis. Indian J Pediatr. 2018 Jan 3. doi: 10.1007/s12098-017-2574-z.

Fluoride was identified to have caries preventive properties and was widely used for fluoridation of water since 1940, especially in developed countries. After this there was sudden increase in the use of fluorides in food items and in oral medicinal products like toothpastes and mouth washes. Inadvertent use of above has lead to increase in fluorosis as a public health problem. In many places high fluorides are naturally present in earth crust leading to high water fluoride content increasing the risk of fluorosis. Maintaining a fine balance of fluorides in the body is mandatory for exploiting its advantages. World Health Organization (WHO) has fixed permissible limit of fluorides in water to 1.5 mg/L as a preventive step to contain fluorosis. Fluorosis has three clinical components: Dental, Skeletal and Non-Skeletal Fluorosis. It occurs with increasing level of fluorides in the body. Acute toxicity due to fluorides is also known and occurs as a result of sudden exposure to high levels of fluorides, usually by ingestion. Once fluorosis occurs it is irreversible without any cure. Only symptomatic and supportive management is possible. Hence prevention is the mainstay of management. Prevention is by using alternative sources of water or its de-fluoridation. National Program for Prevention and Control of Fluorosis (NPPCF) was launched in 2008-9 to identify areas with high fluoride content of water, manage the water bodies, screen schools and community for fluorosis and comprehensive management of cases. Improving quality of drinking water as per standards and improving nutritional status of children are also important components of prevention of fluorosis.

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