Conventional health and dental authorities recommend brushing with fluoride, receiving fluoride treatments, and in some municipal water systems, fluoride is added in. But does fluoride lower the incidence of cavities? And, might there also be cause for concern about negative effects fluoride has on our health?
If the tap water in your home contains fluoride, your children use fluoride toothpaste or other products containing fluoride, or your child receives fluoride treatments at the dentist, there are some facts to know about this industrial chemical. Fluoride is a toxic substance which can cause dental fluorosis and other health concerns, especially from swallowing it regularly.
Over the last several years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) made an announcement to lower recommended levels of fluoride in drinking water by almost 50 percent in some municipal water systems across the nation. This change results in a reduction of fluoride levels in public water systems to no more than 0.7 mg/L. Previously, recommended fluoride levels were between 0.7 to 1.2 mg/L. These new levels of fluoride mean a significant reduction in exposure to a hazardous neurotoxin long believed in mainstream health and dental communities to be a success in the fight against tooth decay. This would lower the amount to 0.7 ppm.
As with other health epidemics like obesity and heart disease, dental fluorosis is becoming a major problem. A recent government report reveals that in adolescents aged 12- 15 years, 41 percent exhibit signs of dental fluorosis. An infant consuming commercial formula reconstituted with fluoridated tap water at new levels recommended by the DHHS (0.7 ppm), will receive approximately 175 times more fluoride than a breast-fed infant. The CDC recently updated information on their web site which states the following: Recent evidence suggests that mixing powdered or liquid infant formula concentrate with fluoridated water on a regular basis may increase the chance of a child developing … enamel fluorosis” and “In children younger than 8 years of age, combined fluoride exposure from all sources – water, food, toothpaste, mouth rinse, or other products – contributes to enamel fluorosis.”
Fluoride: cavity preventer or harmful chemical?
Fluoride as a means in cavity prevention is not only dangerous as it exposes the body to a harmful chemical, but studies have also shown that fluoride use does not reduce overall cavity rates in the population. Modern research (e.g. Diesendorf 1986; Colquhoun 1997, and De Liefde, 1998) shows that decay rates were coming down before fluoridation was introduced and have continued to decline even after its benefits would have been maximized.
There are other factors which influence the development of tooth decay including a traditional diet of nutrient-dense foods and avoiding processed food products – including sugar and grains. For more information on diets as they relate to tooth decay, read Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel.
Here are 7 compelling reasons to avoid fluoride in personal care products and the water supply:
1. Fluoride has a negative impact on children’s I.Q levels. In December of 2010, a study published in The Journal of Hazardous Materials revealed the following: “Our study suggested that low levels of fluoride exposure in drinking water had negative effects on children’s intelligence and dental health and confirmed the dose – response relationships between urine fluoride and IQ scores as well as dental fluorosis.” As the level of fluoride increased in drinking water from 0.3 to 3.0 ppm, a 5 point lowering in IQ levels was indicated.
2. A study conducted by the journal Langmuir discusses how the benefits of fluoride applied topically to teeth are questionable, at best. The study showed that a layer formed on the teeth during a fluoride application (fluorapatite layer) is only six nanometers thick. To get a width of a strand of hair on your head, you’d need 10,000 of these layers!
3. Fluoride added to drinking water, toothpaste, and other “preventative” dental care products is a poison that accumulates in the body. Continued consumption and use not only causes spotting on the teeth (dental fluorosis) and increases the risk of cavities, it can lead to the development of various health issues such as lowered thyroid function, hyperactivity, genetic damage and cell death, blindness, bone deformities and cancer, increased rates of tumors, weakening of the immune system, and damage to cells which contributes to the aging process.
4. Fluoride has been banned in various European countries, and yet they continue to experience the same level of tooth decay as those of us living in the U.S. Where fluoridation has been discontinued in regions such as Canada, the former East Germany, Cuba and Finland, dental decay has not increased but has actually decreased.
5. Fluoride use is associated with various negative health effects. Studies conducted using rats who consumed fluoride for one year (1 ppm) experienced degeneration in kidney and brain regions and showed an increase of aluminum in the brain, and the formation of beta amyloid deposits which are characteristic of Alzheimers disease (Varner 1998).
Fluoride interferes with mineral absorption. It also forms complexes with a large number of metal ions (including necessary metals such as calcium and magnesium) with metals like lead and aluminum, which are toxic to the body. Fluoride has been observed to have mutagenic effects. It can cause chromosome damage and interfere with the enzymes involved with DNA repair in a variety of cell and tissue studies (Tsutsui 1984; Caspary 1987; Kishi 1993 and Mihashi 1996). Recent studies have also found a correlation between fluoride exposure and chromosome damage in humans (Sheth 1994; Wu 1995; Meng 1997 and Joseph 2000).
6. Although fluoride has been prescribed by dentists and doctors for 50 + years, no fluoride product has ever been approved by the FDA for ingestion that is safe or effective. Supplements and toothpaste containing fluoride provide the same amount of fluoride as you would consume daily from tap water. Fluoridation is ineffective at preventing one of the most serious oral health problems facing poor children – “baby bottle tooth decay”, also known as early childhood caries (Barnes 1992 and Shiboski 2003).
7. Fluoride chemicals used in municipal water systems are not pharmaceutical grade, nor does they remotely resemble the natural fluorine found in nature. Instead, they come from the wet scrubbing systems of the super-phosphate fertilizer industry. These have been classified as hazardous wastes contaminated with different toxins and other impurities. As one example, testing conducted by the National Sanitation Foundation disclosed that levels of arsenic in these chemicals are relatively high (up to 1.6 ppb after dilution into public water) and are cause for concern (NSF 2000 and Wang 2000).
8. When consumed, fluoride enters the blood-brain barrier, designed to protect brain and nervous system regions from damage incurred from toxins and foreign invaders, and is capable of entering the placenta into the body of an unborn fetus (P. Yugandhar Reddy, K. Pratap Reddy, and K. Praveen Kumar, 2011). Various chronic diseases have been associated with penetration of the blood-brain barrier including MS, brain tumors, brain infections and other neurological conditions including autism.
9. Fluoride accumulates in the pineal gland. The pineal gland is designed to allow secretion of melatonin, a critical hormone necessary for proper circadian rhythm-management which governs sleep patterns. A 2001 Study which examines fluoride concentration in this gland reveals that when humans die of old age, calcium-to-fluoride ratio in the gland have actually surpassed that which is found in bones. This could reveal adverse affects on pineal synthesis of melatonin, which could have implications on the impact of sleep quality, thus leading to other chronic health conditions.
The Case Against Fluoride: How Hazardous Waste Ended Up In Our Drinking Water and The Bad Science and Powerful Politics that Keep It There by Dr. Paul Connett, Beck, Micklem
The Fluoride Deception – Christopher Bryson, Theo Colborn
Dr. Mercola – The United States Department of Health and Human Services admits there is too much fluoride in the water Supply, and announces plans to lower amounts
Cover image by William Warby on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/wwarby/