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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