If you think that fluoride is healthy to consume, consider that too much of it can cause health problems.
Ever wonder why your toothpaste label says: “Warning: Keep out of the reach of children under 6 years of age. If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.” Fluoride, a naturally occurring element, can be dangerous if consumed in high doses. The risk is high, especially for children, and contributes to dental fluorosis (cosmetic damage to teeth, causing brown or white spots) and skeletal fluorosis (risk of bone fractures). Low-level topical doses are thought to prevent tooth decay, but high-level systemic doses (as in drinking water or from swallowing fluoridated toothpaste) are thought to contribute to health problems.
The 2010 statistics from the Center of Disease Control state that 73.9 percent of the drinking water in the United States is fluoridated either naturally or artificially. In 2011, due to an alarming increase in dental fluorosis in two out of five adolescents, the United States decreased the amount of fluoride in the water. Studies done in Europe, where all countries do not participate in water fluoridation, show a decline in dental decay regardless if the country fluoridates its water.
Studies done in areas with high levels of fluoride in the water have shown decreased IQ levels in children. It is shown to have effects on the brain, nervous system, thyroid, and it may contribute to certain types of cancer. With the addition of fluoride to water come small amounts of arsenic, lead, and radionuclides. The EPA says fluoride is a chemical with “substantial evidence of developmental neurotoxicity.”
Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful
– Thich Nhat Hanh
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Without clear proof that adding fluoride to the water supply is safe and because of the inability to monitor how much is consumed, fluoridation should be an option, not the rule. The source of the fluoride added to drinking water may be a concern. It is an industrial waste from the production of phosphate fertilizer. Putting it in the water eliminates the need for toxic waste disposal.
Fluoride doesn’t appear to protect teeth through ingestion. It is believed to only work topically. If you feel fluoride is necessary and protective, then you can choose to get it from toothpastes, gels, and mouthwashes. To avoid water fluoridation, filter your tap water with a good quality filter that removes fluoride.
How are cavities and tooth decay produced? Cavities are produced when the plaque on teeth interacts with sugars and starches, causing the enamel to breakdown. Fluoride is not the only step you can take towards tooth health. Other proven steps:
- Limit sugars, including soda, juices, milk, and refined carbohydrates from breads, pastas, and flour. Their interaction is what causes cavities in the first place. Even diet sodas, which contain no sweeteners, are acidic and may cause decay as well.
- Stop smoking. Smoking has been linked to poor oral hygiene and cavities, plus it’s just not good for your overall health.
Bonus Health Tip: While on the subject of teeth, SMILE! It makes you feel better. Researchers say that just the act of putting a smile on your face can elevate your mood.
The Fluoride Deception, by Christopher Bryson, is a well-referenced guide to the story of fluoride in America—complete with conspiracies and cover-ups, making the study of fluoride interesting.