The story goes that in the 1950’s, dentists believed that fluoride was a nutrient that helped to prevent cavities in the teeth, in a similar way to how vitamin C helps prevent scurvy. That belief was since disproved, and it is now recognised that fluoride is not a nutrient, and the fluoride content of a tooth does not have any influence on whether or not the tooth has any cavities.
It is possible to have the healthiest, whitest smile without ever using a fluoride toothpaste, or drinking fluoridated water. Today most experts agree that there is no benefit from adding fluoride to the water supply because there is no proven benefit associated with the oral ingestion of fluoride supplements.
There is research to show that the topical application of fluoride can help children’s developing teeth, however the risk of swallowing the toothpaste greatly outweighs the benefits in my opinion.
Studies show that children can swallow significant quantities of toothpaste, especially if it has a pleasant flavour. Swallowing fluoride can cause damage to the teeth through a condition known as fluorosis (pictured right). 41% of adults are now effected by this condition that used to be rare!
The damage that excessive fluoride causes to teeth is due to hyper-mineralisation characterised as brown and black stains, and enamel erosion. This condition can cause significant anxiety and embarrassment for children.
On balance, the many scientific studies into fluoride supplementation conclude that the addition of fluoride is far more likely to cause fluorisis symptoms than it is to prevent a tooth cavity.
Fluoride is a poison, and this is acknowledged on tubes of commercial toothpaste such as the one pictured here which all carry a warning about what to do if the product is swallowed, ie “Contact a Poison Control Center immediately”.
Fluoride is more poisonous than lead, and slightly less poisonous than arsenic. It has been used for many years as the active ingredient in rat poison and insecticides.
Scientists accept that fluoride is toxic, but the effects over time are currently the subject of hot debate.
What happens if you consume small amount of fluoride over a long amount of time? Do you become immune to it like a spy from the movies who made himself immune to the effects of cyanide? Or are the cumulative effects of fluoride exposure damaging?
What is known is that the Institute of Medicine concede that 10 mg fluoride exposure per day can contribute to skeletal fluorosis within 10 to 20 years, symptons of which include joint pain, and osteoarthritis.
Fluoride is also linked to low IQ in children in 50 different studies. It is also linked to bone fractures, cancer, cardiovascular disease, disabetes, endocrine disruption, hypersensitivity, male infertility, pineal gland, and thyroid disease.
Fluoride accumulates in the pineal gland, which is a naturally calcifying tissue. However the hydroxyapatite crystals in the pineal gland end up with a high fluoride concentration, which prevents the pineal gland producing melatonin so effectively, which could lead to impaired sleep quality, and earlier onset of puberty in children. One ten year study showed that girls in a fluoridated town reach puberty five months earlier than a non-fluoridated town.
The National Research Council say that the beneficial level of fluoride in drinking water is 0.7 to 1.2 mg per litre of water, but say the safe upper limit is 4 mg per litre which they say is toxic to human health because of acute toxicity. That isn’t a big difference between supposedly being beneficial, or being potentially harmful.
With fluoride being added to drinking water and toothpaste, it is complicated to keep exposure to less than 10 mg per day. Some children can go over that simply from the fluoride in their toothpaste, not to mention all the added fluoride in drinking water. How can anyone be expected monitor their dosage?
Since there are no real benefits to fluoride supplementation, and there are plenty of risks I personally believe it is better to eliminate fluoride where possible by switching to a fluoride-free toothpaste, and using a water filter that will remove any added fluoride from your drinking water.
Learn more at the Fluoride Action Network.
Do you use a fluoride free toothpaste, or do you think fluoride is good for you? Let me know in the reply section below. I’d love to hear from you!