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What is it?Sodium fluoride is a clear crystalline solid, sometimes a white powdery form. It is soluble in water and does not burn when exposed to fire(“Sodium Fluoride, Pubchem”). AdvantagesSodium fluoride is mainly used to prevent tooth decay and tooth cavities. Because of its solubility, it can be found in water systems, in a process called water fluoridation, and toothpaste. Fluoride is able to bind calcium ions in the hydroxyapatite of surface tooth enamel, which is a naturally forming calcium apatite mineral. This prevents the tooth enamel to be damaged by acids(“Sodium Fluoride, PubChem”). According to the American Dental Association, water fluoridation can reduce tooth decay by 20 to 40 percent. It is beneficial to people of all ages, but the effect is most significant for children(Beach).DisadvantagesEven though sodium fluoride is useful in protecting your teeth against cavities, it doesn’t provide enough protection against conditions such as gingivitis, plaque and tooth sensitivity. For protection of these other conditions, the use of stannous fluoride is required(“Difference between”). Stannous fluoride is extremely similar to sodium fluoride but has an advantage because it is antimicrobial, whereas sodium fluoride is not. This means Stannous fluoride kills bacteria by interrupts the metabolism process of micro bacterias, which usually results in a production of acid that creates cavity. If there are fewer bacteria, there will be less cavity causing acid(Mitchell).Positive implications:Economical: According Virginia’s Community College, for every $1 spend on water fluoridation, people in the U.S are able to save $50 in dental expenses. In Scotland, water fluoridation are able to reduce dental expenses for children by 49 to 59 percent. This saves a lot of money for individuals and communities as dental expenses are mostly paid for from people’s own money(Beach).Negative implications:Social: Sodium Fluoride itself is a toxic substance. The Material Safety Data Sheets label sodium fluoride as toxic by ingestion, inhalation and skin contact. This means toxins released from sodium fluoride can be absorbed into your body when you brush your teeth or are cleaning with dental care products. Poison Control in the U.S receives thousands of calls about excessive use of products containing fluoride. Over ingestion of fluoride can result in serious and fatal results, some potential results include: Acute poisoning, birth defects, osteoarthritis, bone and uterine cancer, perinatal death, immune system suppression, gastrointestinal disorders, lowered IQ and skeletal fluorosis. With this knowledge, water fluoridation has been banned in many countries around the world, including China, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Japan etc,. More than 45 U.S cities also don’t allow water fluoridation(Group). Conclusion:Sodium fluoride is not a good chemical to be used in daily life. It is harmful to our health, bringing lifetime and fatal consequences. Even though it can save dental costs, it cannot prevent all the dental conditions on its own, like gingivitis. A better alternative would be to use stannous fluoride in our daily dental products.

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