If you have ever closely noticed dental product commercials or read the back of your toothpaste pack, you have definitely come across fluoride.
It is an inorganic ion of the element fluorine and is very beneficial for dental and bone health.
In the USA, most people use municipal water for drinking and other purposes.
This water is also treated with fluoride before being supplied to the public.
This process of treating water with fluoride is called fluoridation.
Other than municipal water and dental products, you can also find fluoride in many dietary supplements and some foods and beverages.
So does fluoride have a particular smell? And what does fluoride taste like? Read on to find out.
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is actually a mineral that you can find in natural water and naturally occurring rocks.
It is also present in plants and in our bones and teeth.
In rocks and soil, when fluorine salts combine with the already present minerals, fluoride is formed.
Additionally, since fluoride helps in preventing tooth decay, most dental products have fluoride in them.
Fluoride helps our teeth by hardening the enamel and can also help to prevent or reverse the effects of dental fluorosis.
One of the reasons why fluoride is added to municipal water is to prevent the risk of dental fluorosis.
Excess of fluoride can also be a problem.
Too much fluoride can lead to tooth decay, weakened enamel, and tooth discoloration.
Municipal water is always treated with a small amount of fluoride that is regulated.
Otherwise, unchecked levels of fluoride in water can be very harmful to people.
What Does Fluoride Taste Like?
Classically, fluoride doesn’t have any distinct taste or smell.
So that slightly minty taste you get when brushing your teeth- is because of the other ingredients in the toothpaste that combine together.
Since fluoride doesn’t have a taste, even municipal water doesn’t taste any different than water from other sources.
Neither is there any change in the smell or color.
Fluoride has a bright yellow color in liquid form, though it takes a different shade when the state is changed.
In solid form, fluoride can be either opaque or transparent.
In municipal water supplies, fluoride is added in controlled quantities, which is why there is no effect on the color of the water you receive.
When fluorine content is not moderated, it can be harmful to people.
High fluoride levels in water can lead to a higher risk of skeletal fluorosis, where bones become weak and break easily.
Even in the case of dental health, high amounts of fluoride can lead to dental fluorosis, damaged enamel, and discoloration of the teeth.
Generally, fluoride is mostly helpful in maintaining dental health.
Its presence helps to avoid dental cavities and also to maintain bone strength.
In some cases, fluoride can even reverse the progression of dental cavities.
Commonly, you can find fluoride content in dietary supplements, in fluoridated municipal waters, in toothpaste and other dental hygiene products, etc.
In some cases, dentists can also recommend products with better fluoride content depending on your dental health.
Why is Fluoride in Water?
Fluoride, chemically the ionic form of fluorine, is present in natural water.
With time, people came to notice the positive effects fluoride can have on dental health, and thus, the idea of fluoridation of water ran.
In the early 1900s, studies showed lower levels of tooth decay associated with communities with fluoride content in their drinking water.
By the 1950s, the idea of fluoridated water began to spread widely.
Thus, today, at least three-fourths of the USA’s water supply has fluoride in it.
Fluoridated water has many health benefits for dental and bone health.
The presence of fluoride helps maintain tooth health and prevents the possibility of cavities.
At the same time, fluoride also helps maintain bone strength.
The reason behind adding fluoride to water was just to improve dental health across communities.
Excess fluoride in water can also be a problem; excessive fluoride in water can discolor your teeth and weaken your enamel, too.
Too much fluoride can lead to calcium deposits in the tendons of the body.
It is important to regulate the quantity of fluoride in drinking water from time to time.
In recent years, the US Public Health Service has recommended lower fluoride levels in drinking water.
Fluoride is an essential nutrient for the human body, especially important for maintaining teeth and bone health in humans.
In natural water, fluoride is generally present and is quite safe to drink as well.
It is generally found in some dietary supplements, dentist-prescribed medicines, toothpaste, etc.
Around 80% of the USA consumes tap water supplied after fluoridation because of the benefits to bone and teeth health.
Fluoride content in drinking water is also maintained and regulated from time to time.
Excess fluoride content in water is also harmful.
High fluoride presence can lead to tooth discoloration, weak bones, and weak enamel.
For these reasons, there is moderation in how much fluoride is added to drinking water.