The addition of fluoride to a drinking water supply is generally governed by the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.
Fluoridated water operates on tooth surfaces: in the mouth it creates low levels of fluoride in saliva, which reduces the rate at which tooth enamel demineralizes and increases the rate at which it remineralizes in the early stages of cavities.
Under what conditions can fluoride exposure be beneficial or detrimental to human health?
Fluorides are organic and inorganic compounds containing the fluorine element.
Australia is one of many countries that have water fluoridation programs currently operating (see Fluoridation by country).Fluoride concentration in food can be increased by the presence of fluoride in water used for its preparation. The consumption of foodstuffs and drinking water is the principal route of exposure to fluoride for adults, while the ingestion of toothpaste by young children makes a significant contribution to their total intake of fluoride. Fluoride does not cause mutations but it has been shown to cause damage to chromosomes at high doses in studies in cell cultures.This has not been shown in most studies on test animals fed with fluoride. Drinking water containing fluoride has not affected reproduction or development of the foetus in most studies on test animals.They occur in the environment both naturally and as a result of human activities.Fluorides are commonly added to dental products – and sometimes to tap water – to prevent cavities.