health · toxic or not tuesday

TnT: fluoride

ToxicOrNotTuesday

oh, the great fluoride debate. 

this is a pretty big debate out in the world, so before we get started, i want to gently remind you this post reflects my personal commitment to a crunchy lifestyle. i have based my opinions on research and encourage everyone to do the same and form their own opinions. all view points are welcome, so long as they’re intelligible and kind 🙂 also, this tiny blog post about fluoride honestly barely scratches the surface of the debate, so i’ve chosen representative data. please remember that!

ok. this week we’re gonna talk about fluoride. WHY? because it’s everywhere.
…and because its presence in products and water is so controversial.

fluoride- is it safe

what is fluoride?

fluoride is the 13th most abundant element on the earth’s crust. it’s a chemical ion of the element fluorine, with one extra electron that gives it a negative charge. it’s found naturally in soil, water, foods, and several minerals, such as fluorapatite and fluorite.

what is fluoride in?

it’s synthesized in labs and put into – toothpaste; mouthwash; fluoride treatments at dental offices; tap water; bottled water

since the 1940s, sodium fluoride has been added to toothpaste and public water systems to “prevent tooth decay.”

is fluoride toxic?

i feel as though this is where i’m gonna make some people upset… it is my belief, backed up by peer-reviewed and cited research, that fluoride does NOT belong in water, toothpastes, dental treatments, etc. i do NOT use fluoride in my toothpaste, mouth rinse, or when i see my dentist. does my dentist know this? yes. does he think i’m crazy or putting my teeth’s health at risk? NOT AT ALL! he compliments the overall health of my teeth and gums EVERY time i see him (whether it be for a regular cleaning or for my TMJ). and he’s not even a holistic dentist 🙂 (i wish…)

get this – the fluoride used for water fluoridation does NOT have FDA approval and is considered by the FDA as an “unapproved drug.” yes, unapproved. aka, not approved for us to drink in our water. 

but is it “toxic?”of course! … but toxic in the amounts the common man uses/ingests it? YES.

for the sake of keeping this post “short,” i’ve chosen representative information. there have been many people that have spoken out against fluoridation of water and the general addition of fluoride to products, some as early as the 1950’s (soon after water fluoridation was started). even in “small” amounts in toothpaste, fluoride toothpastes still come printed with the warning – “WARNING: Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age. If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek PROFESSIONAL HELP or contact a POISON CONTROL center immediately.”

wanna know something scary? the chemicals used to fluoridate water supplies are mostly hazardous by-products of the fertilizer industry. AND they have never been required to undergo randomized clinical trials for safety or effectiveness by any regulatory agency in the world. EVER. seriously guys, even the U.S. FDA classifies ingested fluoride for purposes of reducing tooth decay as an “unapproved drug.”

even at very low concentrations, fluoride is phytotoxic and harmful to livestock; and in man, excessive intakes of fluoride over many years may lead to a well-defined disorder—skeletal fluorosis. there are also a number of studies that suggest it may be genotoxic. so you can count me out on this one!

and fluoride is toxic to wildlife…

in one recent study (to represent all others for the sake of the length of this post), fluoride reduced the mean total and alive number of newborn aquatic snails per surviving adult after only 28 days of exposure. the results show that fluoride is toxic at short- and long-term exposures, causing mortality (at short term) and affecting reproduction and behavior (at long term). additionally, field fluoride levels, corresponding to test fluoride concentrations, have been found in fluoride-polluted ecosystems, either by natural or anthropogenic causes. therefore, fluoride pollution may potentially affect natural population of invertebrates.

how does fluoride affect the body?

study after study dating back to the 80s from respected academic and scientific institutions show that fluoride is directly connected to health dangers. some of the studies were even funded by the U.S. government. those studies suggested fluoride can be linked to brain, blood, and bone deficiencies in humans. also, Harvard University released a report after reviewing 27 studies of children in China exposed to fluoride, concluding that the higher the fluoride exposure, the lower the child’s IQ.

out of all the fluoride debate research studies, one of the most recognized reports was published in 2006 by The National Academy of Sciences, and found fluoride can affect the thyroid gland and potentially lower the intelligence of children.

here’s a more concise list – 

  • weakens bones (arthritis, fractures, etc.)
  • genetic damage and cell death
  • disrupts synthesis of collagenScreen Shot 2013-06-04 at 11.17.18 AM
  • linked to cancer and increased tumor and cancer rates
  • linked specifically to osteosarcoma (bone cancer)
  • damages sperm and increases infertility
  • inactivates 62 enzymes
  • hyperactivity and/or lethargy
  • impairs sleep by impairing melatonin production in the pineal gland (part of endocrine system)
  • increases lead absorption
  • linked to dementia
  • possibly linked to alzheimer’s
  • inhibits formation of antibodies
  • impaired thyroid function
  • linked to down’s syndrome
  • fluorosis (white spots on teeth from too much fluoride)
  • & more on negative health impacts

fluorosis-comp

okay. if it’s so bad, why aren’t we taking it out of our water & products?

we are. there are many countries and smaller areas that are choosing to NOT fluoridate their water. and guess what? there hasn’t been any increases in cavities! it’s all gone DOWN 🙂

Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 11.28.50 AM

even the U.S. FDA has changed their recommendation for fluoridated water. it’s now at 0.7 parts per million. so what does that exactly mean for your health? nothing really, except a small decrease in the percentage. why doesn’t it make much of a difference?  because if you take your fluoridated toothpaste and you put from one end of the toothbrush head to the other, you are lookin at about 5,000 parts per million. completely unnecessary.

there are LOTS of brands that advertise they don’t add fluoride to their toothpastes and mouthwashes. you can look in your local health food store/specialty organic store/etc… even some popular brands (with whom i still don’t agree with) are offering fluoride-free options, like burt’s bees, tom’s of maine, and colgate.

but could you imagine the upheaval we’d have if a government agency came out and flatly told us the real dangers of fluoride and that it’s banned from here on out? after being used for about 70 years!? the water & toothpaste industries would riot. they’d lose millions! & people would riot. and they’d be sue-happy (even more-so than now)!

what about my teeth?

you’ve most likely heard that fluoride helps protect teeth from decay. that was based on when some scientists found that people who were brought up in areas with naturally fluoridated water had up to two-thirds fewer cavities compared to those who lived in areas where the water was not fluoridated…in the EARLY 1930’S when dental hygiene wasn’t what it is today.

you HAVE to take care of your teeth. you have to eat right, brush right, floss right, and remineralize right. i can’t stress how important it all is. but fluoride is NOT important. a multi-million dollar U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) -funded study found no relation between tooth decay and the amount of fluoride ingested by children. there’s also evidence that the prevalence of dental caries (decay) is declining in communities with unfluoridated water, as well as in those with fluoridated water. in 1980, for example, when the great fluoride debate starting gaining ground again, the National Institute for Dental Research found a difference of only 33% between decay rates for children in fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas. in 1987, the figure dropped to 25%. & that was the 80’s!!

currently, the U.S. has one of the highest fluoridated water figures, and also one of the highest tooth decay rates. *cue facepalm*

check out other countries –

Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 11.29.59 AM Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 11.30.41 AM Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 11.30.58 AM

and honestly guys, my biggest qualm is this – the claim for fluoridating water is in support of less cavities, right? … well, as soon as you swallow the water from your sink, it’s no longer being used on your teeth. so fluoridating water IS RIDICULOUS. it’s unnecessary. they’re saying we can’t ingest the toothpaste, but we can drink the water?? egh. taking proper care of your teeth and remineralizing them is they way to go! NOT barricading your teeth with fluoride.

“wait… remineralize?” yup. your teeth can heal its own cavities. that goes completely against everything we’ve been taught, right!? i’ll post on this concept & my favorite way to remineralize soon… 😉

okay. how do i avoid fluoride!? 

  • avoid using fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash. especially with children that aren’t old enough to spit fluoridated products out. you can make your own toothpaste or buy a natural version. if you opt for buying one, make sure it also doesn’t contain SLS or any other toxic ingredients that are found in conventional toothpaste.
  • call your state department of environmental protection or municipal water supplier to determine if your water is fluoridated and at what level. if your water supply has high fluoride levels, find an alternative drinking source — particularly for formula-fed babies — or invest in a reverse osmosis water filtration system for your water. filtration systems are costly but effective for reducing the amount of fluoride. before installing one, use the EWG water filter buying guide to find the right option for you, and be sure to get it tested by certified organizations from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
  • more ways to reduce your exposure

and you can also look into detox-ing from fluoride here & here.

now i encourage you all to look up information and research on fluoride, and make your own choice as to whether or not to continue to use it. but if you’re still not convinced, think about this – fluoride used to be an industrial waste product that was used exclusively as rat poison. true story.

have you ditched fluoride? why & how? 

LEARN MORE:

ALSO – don’t forget to ENTER MY GIVE-AWAY!

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disclaimer: i am not a doctor, dentist, or dietician. i hold a Master of Science degree. i have published research. i value research in the highest regard, and am committed to living the healthiest life style i can, with the research to back me up. my blog portrays these personal views and beliefs, but i welcome all sound comments and questions. it’s YOUR health, &  it’s YOUR choice (obviously). for me personally, when i find cited, peer-reviewed, published research that shows me FACTS that chemicals or ingredients are linked to anything that can essentially cause harm to my body, i do my very best to steer clear of it. anyone who knows me or reads my blog knows that all too well. all i ask here at AlmostExactly is that everyone is kind and intelligible. 

REFERENCES:

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22 thoughts on “TnT: fluoride

  1. Really interesting post, Alex, thanks! I haven’t looked into the fluoride debate in any way yet besides this (it’s really not as controversial at all here in the UK – we hear next to nothing about it) and so am commenting purely from a first impression.
    I suspect there’s more than one factor at play here – Norway has the highest number of DMFTs from the data above, but no fluoridation. Australia has the highest water fluoridation (except Ireland – what does in study mean? is it always there?) but just over half the number of DMFTs. The USA has less water fluoridation than Australia, but 19% more DMFTs. It could be that USA diets are more damaging to teeth than those in countries with less problems. Norway get hardly any sunlight for a few months of the year, which is required for vitamin D production which in turn regulates minerals such as Calcium being used in the body. That could in part explain their problems. And of course individually, your genetic jackpot (or not) tends to have an influence.
    Just a few thoughts! I know you eat really healthily and take great care of yourself besides your dental routine. I’ve been no-poo for almost a year now and am looking for other ways to do things more naturally if they improve my health as much as they have my hair. So nervous about switching dental methods though! Making a mistake is just a bit more permanent that mucking up your hair…! I shall add fluoride to the list of things to research, but thanks for starting me off 🙂

  2. I’m so glad I found your post!! In Ireland it is a MASSIVE issue and i’ve been working on a post for a while now but I don’t have all the relevant information put together nicely yet.. I think you have explained it brilliantly! Unfortunately not enough people are aware of the issue in Ireland and I’m going to try and get all that info out there so they can see!! Thanks you!!!

  3. So….Dr. Bronners online store says that you can use the Castile soap to brush your teeth. I will never be able to UNtaste the soapy almond scented castile soap until I die! That was a bad decision, but my teeth felt clean, very clean, like….dentist office visit clean! I am going to try your recipe for natural toothpaste, but I will be SO SCARED when I do try it!!! At least I can say that I tried AND I told my husband not to ever try it, so it was for a good cause! When you say that you can remineralize your teeth, does your toothpaste recipe do it?

    1. haha, i’m sorry! i’ve seen that on their site and remember thinkin “eh…no.” lol. you definitely took one for the troops! 😉
      i had awesome feedback from a reader that used the almond DB in my toothpaste recipe & loved it. i hope you do, too! don’t forget your peppermint EO! 🙂 this recipe does not. you’ll need to add calcium powder or calcium magnesium powder into it and/or bentonite clay. i use bentonite clay on its own before i brush. once i use up what i’ve made, i’ll mix it in the next batch for sure!

      1. So, in addition to your toothpaste recipe, you say to add calcium powder or calcium magnesium powder into it and/or bentonite clay? Can I choose just one of these? And how much do I add to the recipe? I have never heard of these…where do you buy them?

      2. yepyep! you can use whichever, but i believe the calciums will do better in the mix as a remineralizing ingredient. my local organic store has a section of bulk items (clays, powders, flowers, teas, etc) that has them, where you can scoop out however much you want. check your local organic store. you can always buy them online from a trusted company, too. you can add up to equal parts coconut oil, just to get the right consistency (or as little as 3 parts powder to 5 parts CO).

  4. Yuck! I don’t want to ever use fluoride again! We really do tend to believe anything the “smart” people tell us! I am just wondering why you still don’t agree with Burt’s bees, toms of Maine and Colgate? I honestly would rather buy toothpaste than make it…there are lots of things I will try, but I’m not ready for that one yet! So I just want to know what brands would be good from my healthy food store?
    Thanks!

    1. hey! it’s just personal. burt’s bees has xylitol (i have dogs and cats) and maltodextrin (i can’t have it) in it. tom’s fluoride-free version still has SLS in it (HORRIBLE for you), and colgate’s fluoride-free version’s (the KID’S version, mind you) first ingredient is propylene glycol, which is used in de-icers, antifreeze, and artificial fog/smoke. that shouldn’t be in anyone’s mouth, let alone a child’s. it also doesn’t contain any ingredients that actually truly clean or help remineralize teeth. it’s a pointless goop. lol. i clearly have it out for colgate, haha. & sadly, now colgate partially owns tom’s. not good!
      i would suggest going down the oral care aisle at your local organic store and stacking the toothpastes all up against each other to compare ingredients. i’m sure i looked crazy doing this, but it really helped! i made sure the toothpaste i picked didn’t have fluoride, SLS, parabens, phthalates, artificial colors, artificial flavors, baking soda, or any other nasty things. it was also important to me that my toothpaste contain remineralizing ingredients. i ended up choosing nature’s gate creme de mint (although i still wasn’t keen on everything). i’m just SUPER picky and decided to make my own after that. i use bentonite clay too, which i love! i’m most definitely posting on that soon 🙂 oh goodness, sorry this is so long. i hope it helps!

      1. Gotcha! So I should use dr bronners, coconut oil, peppermint oil and the mint leaves? Could I leave out those leaves, as long as there is peppermint oil?

      2. hey heather! i haven’t recommended any toothpastes, so i’m not sure which ones you’re referring to. but it depends on who you talk to. silica is used an abrasive in toothpaste, and it’s akin to people using baking soda. it depends on where it is on the ingredients list. the further down, the better because there’s less of it. as always, remineralization is important, as are probiotics. so someone with tooth decay or receding gums would be wise to avoid it, but generally speaking, if you’re eating healthy and staying away from fluoride, your teeth should be fine. the baking soda based toothpastes some people are making themselves are way more abrasive than silica. of course, always ask your dentist.

  5. Oh my word, this kind of stuff scares the crap out of me! Why is our Nation so lazy, and just given in to all of this? It’s sad that our generation seems to be the one to put the foot down and say ‘NO!’ Thank you for all of the info. I will definitely take it to heart.

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