Like many people, you’ve probably been told over the years that fluoride is great for your dental health. And while that’s true, new research has started to show that for people who are inadvertently over-consuming fluoridated products, it could be doing more harm than good when it comes to long-term bone health.
Fluoride is a mineral most commonly found in your teeth, where it’s helpful in strengthening your enamel and preventing cavities that could lead to further dental deterioration. Your dentist may even recommend that you use a fluoridated toothpaste and/or mouth wash if your teeth could use a boost or are showing signs of more cavities than usual.
However, a new study published in Environmental Health Perspectives revealed that having too much fluoride in your system over a long period of time (in this case, over the course of five years) could lead to an increased risk of bone fractures. This specific study looked at postmenopausal women in Sweden and found that the more fluoride they had in their drinking water and general lifestyles, the more likely they were to have hip fractures later in life. Agneta Åkesson, a professor of epidemiology with the Karolinska Institute who co-authored the study, said that much of this is not just due to larger amounts of daily fluoride consumption but also the fact that excess fluoride accumulates in the body over time, causing problems like joint pain and bone fragility if left untreated.
Should you be concerned that you’re getting too much fluoride? It depends. Definitely talk to your doctor if bone health is a concern for you and if you’re thinking of taking some of the fluoride out of your diet. You might end up throwing out that fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash if you don’t need it, and you can order a special reverse osmosis filtration system (Buy on Santevia, $199.99) that works to remove fluoride from your water, though they’re often pricey. Regardless, it never hurts to talk to a medical professional about your worries!