Sodium fluoride in toothpaste - the benefits and harm
Not only calcium is able to improve bone structure and strengthen teeth. Few people know that a significant role in this belongs to fluorine. Fluorine itself is just a gas that can cause poisoning.
But its combination with sodium, by contrast, is widely used in medicine and industry for the production of useful and indispensable products. But is sodium fluoride so safe? Is fluoride harmful in toothpaste? How much of this substance can be ingested normally per day without damage to health?
What is the benefit of sodium fluoride
Sodium fluoride, what is it? A small amount of it is in nature, but for human needs this substance is produced by complex chemical reactions. Fluorine easily forms compounds with many chemical elements, but sodium fluoride (NaF) is better absorbed. Its presence in the body contributes to the formation of fluoroappatites - the most stable compounds with calcium, which are the basis of bone tissue. Therefore, sodium fluoride is contained in toothpaste - it protects teeth from the development of caries.
A small amount of fluoride is normally present in water, but its concentration in different regions is different, so it is often necessary to take it extra.
The role of sodium fluoride in human life:
- stimulates the formation of bone cells - osteoblasts, strengthens the skeleton;
- participates in the formation of tooth enamel;
- in the composition of toothpaste has a bactericidal effect on bacteria, improves blood circulation in the gums;
- in optimal concentrations, sodium fluoride for children is the prevention of the development of caries and periodontal disease (damage to the tooth tissues);
- it is used as a detergent;
- Sodium fluoride is used in the chemical industry (in metallurgy for cleaning and melting metals, welding) and for the production of freon.
Is there any harm from fluoride
NaF is an active participant in many chemical reactions in the human body and in the production of chemical compounds. But despite the considerable benefit, it is he who is responsible for the development of serious illnesses.
The optimal fluoride content in drinking water is 0.7–1 mg / l. Lack of it leads to the development of diseases.
Excess fluoride in toothpaste and products is not only good, but also harmful.
Its excess contributes to the development of fluorosis - this is a defeat of the tooth enamel with the appearance of stains from red to dark brown on it, due to which defects of dental tissue appear gradually.
A large number of fluorine compounds in the body leads to a lag in the development of the nervous system, which especially affects the growing body. The process of ossification and bone mineralization is also disrupted.
The high content of this substance in the environment can lead to intoxication of the body.
What is harmful fluoride? Its deficiency as well as excess leads to impaired development of bone tissue, deterioration of the condition of teeth.
How fluoride helps teeth
Fluoride content in toothpaste should not exceed 0.05%. This is the recommended concentration of the substance for children living in areas with a low content of this trace element in food and water. In such an amount, sodium fluoride prevents the development of caries. The problem is that often people do not know about the chemical composition of tap water and whether there is a lack of fluoride in their body. Therefore, the use of such toothpaste is not always justified and often leads to the opposite effect:
- development of fluorosis due to an excess of trace element in the body;
- the appearance of allergic reactions;
- disruption of the heart;
- increase blood pressure.
The lack of this substance in the dental tissue can be replenished by another method - fluoridation. This is the procedure for enamel saturation with fluoride ions. Is tooth fluoridation harmful? No, the procedure is safe and does not harm the person. Several sessions contribute to the accumulation of substances in the enamel and permanently protects against the pathological influence of bacteria. But in case of an excess of fluoride in the body, the procedure will worsen the condition of the teeth.
Normally, the amount of fluoride that should be ingested with food in humans is between 0.5 and 5 mg per day. A sharp increase to 5–10 g is already a toxic dose for an adult weighing at least 70 kg. In lower concentrations, the substance poisons all systems. Its quantity in tissues may increase in the case of:
- if there is a lot of fluoride in the environment (human work is related to the chemical industry);
- with a lot of his receipt with food;
- an excess of fluoride in the teeth happens with a sufficient content of it in water and the use of fluorinated paste (the optimal content of NaF, recommended for children under 12 years old is 0.05%);
- in the appointment of sodium fluoride for the treatment of bone diseases.
In dental practice, often used tablets with sodium fluoride. When are they needed? The drug is prescribed in the following situations:
- for the prevention of caries development in childhood;
- for the treatment of all types of osteoporosis (bone thinning).
The course of treatment is several months. Children are prescribed from one tablet per day and more.
Products containing fluorine
What is fluorine, in which products?
- In the first place in terms of substance content are seafood: herring, mackerel, cod, shrimp, seaweed and caviar.
- Freshwater fish is also rich in this trace element (eel).
- There is it in green and black tea.
- Onions, apples, spinach, grapefruit.
- Liver, milk, eggs, veal, chicken.
- Wholemeal bread, rice, oatmeal.
Proper balanced nutrition with the inclusion in the diet of foods containing a sufficient amount of this trace element is the prevention of the development of caries and osteoporosis.
Fluoride poisoning symptoms
Depending on the route of intake of this substance and its amount, changes may occur in the body. Disorders in the work of the cardiovascular and nervous systems develop, typical symptoms of poisoning appear.
What can lead to an excess of fluoride in the body?
- There are pains in the stomach due to irritation of the mucous membrane. Often with prolonged exposure, ulcers appear.
- Seizures develop.
- In rare cases, there is tearing and saliva secretion with a regular intake of the substance.
- Symptoms of excess fluoride in the body include nausea, rare vomiting, and weakened stools.
- Bleeding gums.
- Deterioration of the thyroid gland.
- Hair becomes brittle.
- Perhaps the appearance of allergic rhinitis.
- Hoarseness or complete loss of voice.
If fluorides enter the body in large numbers, symptoms of poisoning develop.
- There is a pronounced weakness, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, severe abdominal pain along the intestines.
- Maybe pain in the muscles and joints.
- Symptoms of fluoride poisoning include blurred vision, shaking hands, and convulsions.
- Increased body temperature.
- Blood pressure drops, heart rhythm disturbance, development of heart failure.
- If fluoride is inhaled while working with this substance, pneumonia, pulmonary edema and respiratory arrest can develop.
- Impaired function of the central nervous system and kidneys.
- In severe cases, fluoride poisoning leads to death.
Such conditions develop with the long-term supply of fluoride and its compounds into the human body. Or during contact with harmful chemical compounds that contain fluorine.
How to remove fluoride from the body
At the first signs of an excess of this microelement, it is necessary to limit its intake from food. An important step in the treatment of chronic intoxication is the determination of the content of fluorine compounds in the body and in tap water. If you have signs of fluorosis in children, change the toothpaste.
How else can fluoride be removed from the body? It is well associated with calcium supplements (gluconate and lactate), which are prescribed by health workers under the control of a blood test.
Poisoning should be treated only in the hospital under the supervision of doctors.
The value of this trace element is underestimated, because the development of the nervous and bone systems in a child depends on the fluorine content. Trips to the dentist can be dramatically reduced if we balance the intake of this substance into the body from the moment of birth of a person.