This post is inspired by the section The Fluoride Deception on page 165 of Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel.
I used to believe in fluoride as a dental treatment that strengthens teeth and protects them against cavities. And why wouldn’t I? My fourth grade teacher had us swish with a red fluoride solution every day while we learned about oral hygiene, and just as with anything related to good health, I soaked it all up. I also believed countless dentists and dental hygienists who told me fluoride was beneficial, and I believed advertisements that said toothpaste should always be fluoridated. I remember my tooth-decay-prone younger brother being required to swish his mouth with a fluoride rinse every day.
But when it came to actually ingesting fluoride, I paused. It says right on the labels of fluoridated toothpastes and mouth rinses that medical attention should be sought if more than a tiny amount is swallowed. I remember my school teacher telling us to make sure we spit out all of the fluoride solution. I knew fluoride was poisonous, so when I saw my sister-in-law give her two-year-old a fluoride supplement because their city water wasn’t fluoridated, I was horrified. Really? I thought. Really, you are going to put poison in your baby’s body?
By the time I had my own child, I was really confused. When getting my teeth cleaned, once the hygienist found out I had a baby at home, she insisted that he be getting fluoride to help with the development of his teeth–not his baby teeth, but rather his permanent teeth. I really didn’t want my child to have poor, irreversible development of his adult teeth, so I began to worry. I also began to look for answers, but they were really hard to find. I discovered that too much fluoride can cause fluorosis, which causes mottling of the teeth and weakened bones. At that point, I was leaning away from fluoride, until someone sent me a link to a website that promotes the use of fluoride in drinking water, and I got really confused. According to the site, a study was done that tested drinking water around the world for levels of fluoride and compared to the level of tooth decay in the people who drank the water. They determined that a certain level of fluoride in drinking water was ideal for prevention of tooth decay. At this time, I believed fluoride was naturally occurring in the environment. In some places it is, but in others, it is actually industrial waste run off. I had also seen fluoride listed as a “nutrient” on some nutrition labels. I was beginning to wonder if it was something like a mineral that was important to tooth health. But I understood fluoride as only being helpful as a topical application, so how did ingesting it help? Well, I also learned of a theory that by ingesting fluoride, the fluoride is excreted in our saliva, which constantly bathes our teeth with it. I think that website I visited was owned by the fluoride industry, by the way.
I was starting to believe fluoride was a good thing, but then I learned that my sister had teeth and bone problems from fluoride. She had the exact same amount of fluoride as I did growing up, and she was still living in the same area we grew up in, so why was she experiencing fluorosis, and not me? I realized that individuals have different levels of tolerance for fluoride and there was no way of telling whether my very young son was going to get fluorosis from ingesting fluoride. I began to doubt fluoride more and more. I was surprised when watching a documentary that followed a group of aborigines who drank water near a volcano that was very rich in fluoride and it softened their teeth so much that they could easily file down their teeth into points. In other words, fluoride softens teeth rather than strengthens them. I discovered more information that support this idea that fluoride was weakening to the teeth. Topical application of fluoride may work as a sort of “Bandaid” for tooth decay in some people, but ingesting it is definitely a bad idea.
After my doubts about fluoride started increasing, I then discovered the studies of dentist Weston A Price, who pretty much proved that tooth decay was related to diet. I rejoiced at this new-to-me information. Tooth health isn’t about how much of a toxic substance we put into our bodies, but rather it is about how nutrient-rich our diet is, especially certain minerals such as calcium and phosphorous and fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D and “activator X” which is now believed to be vitamin K2. Upon learning this, I immediately started drinking filtered water (I had been drinking our tap water which had some fluoride in it, just in case the fluoride theory was correct). I also stopped using fluoridated tooth paste and have not touched the fluoride rinse I had bought on recommendation of a dental hygienist. Instead, I got serious about taking cod liver oil and consuming grassfed dairy.
My son has a large spot on one of his teeth that was opaque white when the tooth erupted and changed to yellow then to brown. I don’t know what caused it–it looks exactly like fluorosis but could also have been from a fever he had while the tooth was developing or something else I am unaware of. These spots that some children have when their teeth come in are not cavities but they are very susceptible to decay. I noticed my son’s spot was getting soft. I had just learned about Weston Price and had been hearing things about the book Cure Tooth Decay. I decided to take my son off grains (for other reasons as well), and got him taking cod liver oil daily, probiotics, and slowly headed toward a GAPS style diet with less fruit and more homemade bone broths, and got him on filtered water as well. His spot hardened, and I relaxed.
By the time I started reading Cure Tooth Decay, I had no problem believing any of the information in it. I have just read the section about fluoride and would like to share some information I found interesting:
- In 1986-1987, a study involving 39,207 children aged 5-17 showed no statistical difference in tooth decay from using non-fluoridated or fluoridated water. Several large scale studies worldwide show the same results.
- Most of the fluoride in water supplies is toxic waste from the fertilizer industry.
- The Environmental Protection Agency’s Employee Union (consisting of approximately 1500 scientists, lawyers, engineers and other professionals) is opposed to water fluoridation.
- Fluoride is an enzyme and hormone inhibitor, affecting nervous system and digestion.
- Fluoride is a major cause of brittle bones and teeth.
- Fluoride may cause brain and kidney damage, a decrease in IQ, and may cross the placental barrier in pregnant women.
- Water fluoridation is linked to cancer.
- Even the small amounts from topical applications such as tooth paste which are then spit out can still be enough to alter the glandular system, causing weak teeth from the inside out.
- A majority of European countries do not fluoridate their water on the basis that it is unethical and imposes unnecessary health risks.
- Fluoride is the only “medication” added to public water. (Be aware that even non-fluoridated water can still contain fluoride from run-off, which is the case with the city I live in.)
One-tenth of the 350,000 cancer deaths per year in the U.S. are linked with artificial public water fluoridation.