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Water fluoridation; boon or bane?

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Water fluoridation prevents tooth decay, right? Do the dangers out-weigh the benefits? You decide.

I had believed that my cavity-free teeth were largely due to the fact that I grew up on fluoride pills, and I am most grateful to my parents for that blessing. I'm not sure how young I was when the fluoride was started, but the dosage increased gradually as I got older, probably based on my bodyweight. And at some point, the dentist told my parents to stop giving me the pills, and they did. Because of the wonderful result I personally had with taking fluoride, the controversy over fluoridated water confused me. I didn't understand why certain communities were fighting so hard to stop their water from being fluoridated, when supposedly it does such a wonderful job of preventing tooth decay. So, here is the argument against. You decide.

Fluorine must be put into water in the form of a compound, as alone it is very reactive. So the question becomes, what kind of fluoride is being put in your water? Calcium fluoride is naturally found in water, but that form is very difficult for the body to absorb, and probably wouldn't do much to help our teeth. Sodium fluoride is much more absorbable by the body, but that may not be the form that is put in municipal water supplies because it is more expensive than other alternatives. It is possible that municipalities are using silicofluorides, as they are far cheaper. This type of fluoride could be a problem, as it is a toxic waste from phosphate fertilizer pollution scrubbers and it contains arsenic, mercury, lead and beryllium. Unfortunately, even if you chose to avoid drinking the water or washing your produce in it, you would absorb the toxins through your skin in the bath or shower, as well as in juice or food such as canned soup that is made with fluoridated water.

And then there is the question of dosage. If fluoride is put into the water supply, there is no control over the amount people drink or absorb through their skin. Young children may get far too much fluoride for their body-size and weight, and infants being fed formula mixed with water may be getting 100 to 200 times the fluoride that breast-fed babies are getting. Fluorine is a toxic substance and it is bio-accumulative. There is some evidence that fluoride can be damaging to the development of an infant's brain, and babies in general are much more vulnerable to environmental toxins. Dental fluorosis, a condition that damages the cells that form the teeth and makes them yellow and mottled, is also linked to bone fractures, possibly bone cancer, a lowering of fertility and IQ, and it seems to increase the uptake of aluminum. And it is now known that fluoride works best when topically applied, such as in toothpaste, so the question becomes, "is it ethical to force a population to ingest fluoride without their permission considering the risks?" It may be wise to tell your children not to eat or swallow fluoridated toothpaste, particularly if your water is fluoridated, as they may be getting too much.

And then there are the mounting studies that show that tooth decay is declining as quickly in those that have had no exposure to fluoride. In fact, in New Zealand, children with no water fluoridation, no fluoridated toothpaste, and no fluoride applied to teeth at the dentist have slightly better teeth than those who were exposed to fluoride. Could it be that a good quality diet may be what makes for good teeth? It is interesting to note that water fluoridation is not approved by the FDA, and the AMA "is not prepared to state that no harm will be done to any person by water fluoridation."

So, what do you think? Should our water be fluoridated or not? And if you live in a community that has fluoridated water, and you decide that this is something you don't want, what can you do? Most water filters do not remove fluoride, so read your filter labels carefully. Reverse osmosis apparently does, but this can be expensive. Here is an example of a company that focuses on filtering fluoride, should you feel you need to. Just be certain that the filter you choose also filters out heavy metals, chlorine, benzene, pesticides etc. And if you don't want to use fluoridated toothpaste either, there are many unfluoridated toothpastes, like these ones, on the market now.

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Cheng K. et al. Adding fluoride to water supplies BMJ Oct. 2007, 335 (7622): 699-702. (For additional interesting commentary on the controversy see Rapid Responses,)

Pizzo G. et al.Community water fluoridation and caries prevention: a critical review. Clin Oral Investig. 2007 Sep;11(3):189-93. Epub 2007 Feb 27.

Colquhoun, John, Why I changed my mind about water fluoridation Fluoride 31(2) 1998, pp 103-118.

Connett, Dr. Paul, Should our drinking water be fluoridated? Ecologist Online 01/12/2004.

Meyer -Leuckel H. et al. Caries and fluorosis in 6- and 9-year-old children residing in three communities in Iran. Community Dent Health. 2004 Mar;21(1):37-44.

De Almeida BS et al. Fluoride ingestion from toothpaste and diet in 1- to 3-year-old Brazilian children. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2007 Feb;35(1):53-63.

Glasser, George, The Dentist's Tale Online @

Online @ Fluoride Action Network

Colquhoun, John, Fluorides and the decline in tooth decay in New Zealand Fluoride 26 125-134, 1993.

Diesendorf M. The mystery of declining tooth decay Nature 322 125-129, 1986.

Price, Weston A. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration Heuber, New York, 1939.
Li Y. et al. Effect of long-term exposure to fluoride in drinking water on risks of bone fractures. J Bone Miner Res. 2001 May;16(5):932-9.

Jacobsen et al. The association between water fluoridation and hip fracture among white women and men aged 65 years and older. A national ecologic study Annals of Epidemiology 2 617-626, 1992.

Sowers et al. A prospective study of bone mineral content and fracture in communities with differential fluoride exposure American Journal of Epidemiology 133 649-660, 1991.

Jacqmin-Gadda H. et al. Fluorine concentration in drinking water and fractures in the elderly Journal of the American Medical Association 273 775-776, 1995.

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Comments (5)

Submitted by No Fluoride (not verified) on Sat, 10/20/2007 - 3:54am.

Our water should never be fluoridated. Fluoride is neither a nutrient nor essential for healthy teeth. Therefore, it is a drug. Like all drugs, fluoride has side effects; but consumers aren't given informed consent before ingesting it every day of their lives.

The early studies which linked fluoride to lesser tooth decay are flawed. The British Medical Journal reported on October 6, 2007, that of 3200 world-wide studies on fluoride and fluoridation, are not  scientifically valid.

There is no dispute that ingesting fluoride has no beneficial effects. So I suspect your good teeth had nothing to do with the fluoride tablets you swallowed - which, by the way, are illogically prescribed not on your body weight but on the level of fluoride in your drinking water.

It's obvious to see how illogical that is since everyone drinks varying amounts of water every day.

Take Action to End Fluoridation

Online Petition to End Fluoridation and call for a Congressional

Sponsored by the Fluoride Action Network http://FluorideAction.Net





Submitted by Vreni Gurd on Sat, 10/20/2007 - 8:59am.

Thanks for making me aware of the BMJ article - I want to add it as a reference to my post.

Why is it that once we know something is harmful that it is so difficult to remove it so people are no longer affected by it???? This goes not only for fluoride, but also transfats, high fructose corn syrup etc. Crazy.

Vreni Gurd

Health and Vitality Coach

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 10/21/2007 - 10:00am.

My son did a 7th grade science project (many years ago) on fluoride. He discovered that fluoride is the main ingredient in rat poison.  Since then, we have been anti-fluoride. I would be incensed about fluoride in the water supply.

 Apparently, the action of fluoride is to harden the enamel on the teeth, thus making them more impervious to dental caries/decay. Apparently (I haven't checked these facts in years and years, since helping my son with his science project), hardening the dentin may also prevent the teeth from achieving their full size . . . Does anybody know about this?



Submitted by Vreni Gurd on Sun, 10/21/2007 - 10:47am.


After a quick search, I haven't found much to indicate that high fluoride concentrations in the dentin stops the teeth from achieving their full size, although it seems to be a good indicator for dental fluorosis. I found one study that marginally supports the theory, and another that seems to dispute it. You may well be right, but it may take some looking.

Any experts out there?


Vreni Gurd

Health and Vitality Coach

Submitted by creditspecialist (not verified) on Sun, 10/28/2007 - 10:42pm.

Absolutely, it is a practice of adding such components to
water in many countries till now which helps in reducing tooth decay, its interesting to know about
and also informative.Water fluoridation can have harmful health effects like
bone cancer, this process is very helpful for us to maintain a proper a teeth...

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