I like your question about fluoride and other
halogens in the teeth. Fluoride is so toxic that
we aren't supposed to swallow our toothpaste.
Fluoride is the smallest halogen ion (= 'halide').
Chloride, bromide, and iodide, are increasingly
larger. Astatine (At) is the largest halogen and
is very radioactive. Chloride - we need this in
our bodies in large amounts. Bromide - it was
used as a sedative 100 years ago, but it can be
toxic. Iodide - it's in iodized salt, so it is
clearly less toxic than fluoride.
So I conclude that fluoride is good at
preventing tooth decay because it is very toxic,
more than other halides present in the body - and
the teeth - in larger amounts. Some other
halogens are used only as disinfectants.
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