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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wholesome Wednesday: Fluoride

Fluoride, it's probably something you don't give much thought to. You get it on your teeth when you get them cleaned at the dentist, your toothpaste has it, and your drinking water has it in. But what is it and is it safe?

For years I have been concerned with fluoride in our drinking water. I just don't like the fact that it is there and I haven't found a water filtration system that filters it out (at least, not one that I can afford). Contrary to previous belief, fluoride has minimal benefit when swallowed. According to the Centers for Disease Control, fluoride's "predominant effect is posteruptive and topical". Meaning, any benefits that accrue from the use of fluoride, come from the direct application of fluoride to the outside of teeth (after they have erupted into the mouth) and not from ingestion. There is no need, therefore, to expose all other tissues to fluoride by swallowing it. Yes, we continue to drink our city water, which is fluorinated, but I am not happy about it.

Once I turned 18 I stopped getting fluoride treatments on my teeth during a cleaning at the dentist office and have never had my children get them. The main reason for it is because I have dental fluorosis (which is now estimated to affect around 30% of American children and adults), which is the first visible sign of excessive fluoride exposure. It results in whitish or dark flecks and spots on the teeth. I have been able to get them bleached (at $200 a pop) but only did that once, as they come back due to not being stains, but rather marks on and in the teeth. I don't want my children to get that and it just proves that fluoride isn't exactly a good thing.

We go in spurts when we buy fluorinated toothpaste and unfluorinated. My husband seems to have very thin enamel and tends to get cavities when we use the unfluorinated toothpaste. The children typically use the unfluorinated and we have just had to deal with one cavity in my daughter, which I doubt is due to the lack of fluoride but more to the fact that I have started to let her brush her own teeth and I think she didn't do such a great job. I am not as worried about the toothpaste as it is not ingested.

There are other health affects of fluoride than just the dental fluorosis. According to the National Research Council (NRC), fluoride can damage the brain. Animal studies conducted in the 1990s by EPA scientists found dementia-like effects at the same concentration (1 ppm) used to fluoridate water, while human studies have found adverse effects on IQ at levels as low as 0.9 ppm among children with nutrient deficiencies, and 1.8 ppm among children with adequate nutrient intake.

People with kidney disease have a heightened susceptibility to fluoride toxicity. The heightened risk stems from an impaired ability to excrete fluoride from the body. As a result, toxic levels of fluoride can accumulate in the bones, intensify the toxicity of aluminum build-up, and cause or exacerbate a painful bone disease known as renal osteodystrophy.

According to the NRC, fluoride is an endocrine disruptor. Most notably, the NRC has warned that doses of fluoride (0.01-0.03 mg/kg/day) achievable by drinking fluoridated water, may reduce the function of the thyroid among individuals with low-iodine intake. Reduction of thyroid activity can lead to loss of mental acuity, depression and weight gain.

Less known to the public is that fluoride also accumulates in bones. It increases the risk for bone fracture and has even been linked to a serious form of bone cancer (osteosarcoma).

Fluoride hasn't even been proven to be the direct link to prevent cavities. No difference exists in tooth decay between fluorinated & unfluorinated countries.

We do try to avoid fluoride as much as possible.


  1. Hi, I have 2 children. Daughter #1 is 39 and has never had a cavity. Daughter #2 is 30 and has had only one cavity. There may be more than one factor involved, but I think flouride had something to do with it.

  2. I COULD NOT AGREE MORE!!! This is a huge thing for me! I was actually diagnosed with a horribly low iodine leveln in my body (and thyroid and adrenal function). I am now using salt toothpaste and taking an additional iodine supplement. We have well water (thank goodness), so our exposure to floride is minimal. I do not get my kids treated at the dentist w/ flouride, but I do allow them to have flouridated toothpaste once a day (the other time is with non-flouridated). I also avoid chlorine as well (another hallide that takes up iodine receptors in the body...and bromide which is in most baked goods- but that's another post for another day).
    Pleased to meet you! I'll follow you now!

  3. I, too, wish they would take flouride out of the water!!

  4. I avoid fluoride too. Dr.Mercola just posted an article about it at www.mercola.com.

  5. We use the Berkey water filtration system and they claim that 95% of fluoride is eliminated through filtration.


  6. Did you know flouride treats dental pain? I have severe pain in all of the teeth on my lower front and right side stemming from an old injury. I was going to have to get all of those teeth capped or removed which would be horribe. We are talking almost $10,000 after insurance for the cheaper option! Since I am so young I would probably have to get them replaced at least once too. The dentist decided to try one last thing. I got a special toothpaste with very high levels of flouride. I don't use it for normal brushing. I brush with my regular toothpaste and then rub the flouride toothpaste over those teeth, wipe it off with my toothbrush and spit it out.Ssometimes I have to use it twice a day but it keeps the pain away. It is amazing.

  7. I do agree with you on this issue. Fluorine is even more harmful to our brain, especially in children. And here is an excerpt from a website I found on the effect of Fluorine on a Child's IQ.

    "We found that exposure to fluoride (F) in urine was associated with reduced Performance, Verbal, and Full IQ scores before and after adjusting for confounders. The same pattern was observed for models with F in water as the exposure variable.... The individual effect of F in urine indicated that for each mg increase of F in urine a decrease of 1.7 points in Full IQ might be expected.”
    SOURCE: Rocha-Amador D, et al. (2007). Decreased intelligence in children and exposure to fluoride and arsenic in drinking water. Cadernos de Saude Publica 23(Suppl 4):S579-87."

    Blessing O.
    Visit my website at www.safehomehappymom.com for safety tips at home.

  8. Thank you for posting this! My family has been plagued with weak enamel. After giving birth to my first son 1 year ago, I have everyone and their brother asking me if I've considered fluoride treatments or giving my son infant Poly-Vi-Flor to combat my sides *genetic weak teeth*.

    My husband has never had a cavity, I on the other hand, even though I brush, had fluoride treatments etc have endured several root canals, cavities and painful toothaches. I really want my son to be spared my misery. So I did talk to my dentist and he told me not to bother with brushing my son's teeth with anything other than plain water until he reaches 2 years of age.

    I got flack from the hubs family that I need to be supplementing my son NOW. I've made my own decision to follow my dentist's recommendation and just brush his little teeth with water. We also use Nursery water to cut his juices and used it for his formula since it has lower levels (.7ppm)of fluoride.

    Thanks again for posting this. It helps settle my mind that I have made the right decision.

  9. Xylitol. It's a naturally occurring fruit sugar, and it prevents cavities. You can buy jars of it online or in health food shops and sprinkle it on your brush or buy toothpaste and/or mouthwash with it. (I like spry brand) You needing worry about your young kids swallowing it either.

    One of my favorite parts about moving from Las Vegas to AZ was Az doesn't fluoridate their water.

  10. http://askdrellie.blogspot.com/

    My family has had terrible teeth until we started using this program. It is wonderful and it works!



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