Fluoride is a commonly added to the water supply and many have been brainwashed into believing fluoride is necessary for dental health and bone maintenance. However, the exact opposite is true. While evidence exists to show that fluoride may provide some benefit as a topical adjunct, it is by no means meant to be consumed and not without risks. 
How Am I Exposed to Fluoride?
Fluoride is a chemical element naturally present in the environment. During the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s, public health officials began fluoridating drinking water. It's added to the water supply and dental products like toothpaste and mouth rinse. It's almost impossible to avoid if you don't use a water purification device that specifically filters it out.
It's important to consider all the potential resources that utilize tap water. If you frequently eat at restaurants, it's a solid bet that their kitchen doesn't use fluoride-free water. Beverage manufacturers all rely on municipal water systems to produce soda, juice, and smoothies — all of which contains added fluoride. When you add these up, you can begin to appreciate the high level of fluoride in the average person's diet.
Symptoms of Fluoride Exposure
Fluoride exposure can cause a number of symptoms; some minor, some severe. Excess salivation is one indication of overexposure to fluoride. Fluorosis, a condition which impedes the function of the ameloblasts in the mouth, hinders the development of the enamel matrix and is another concern; its most common symptom is yellowing of the teeth.  It's not a problem of “not brushing enough,” and simply cleaning the teeth or performing whitening treatments won't correct the problem.
How to Avoid Fluoride
Avoiding fluoride is tricky but can be done with the appropriate measures. First, you need to cut it off at the source. Avoid tap water and avoid products that use it. Invest in a water purification device or system that removes, among other things, fluoride. Second, only purchase natural, fluoride-free toothpastes and mouthwash.
Have you had negative reactions to fluoride exposure? What have you done to remedy the problem? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts and tips with us.
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
- Hellwig E, Lennon AM. Systemic versus topical fluoride. Caries Res. 2004 May-Jun;38(3):258-62.
- Ismail Al, Hasson H. Fluoride supplements, dental caries and fluorosis: a systematic review. J Am Dent Assoc. 2008 Nov;139(11):1457-68.