Fluoride advocates often claim that the reduction in tooth decay that's occurred since the 1950s is a benefit of fluoridated water, but the facts just don't add up. For example, in 1999 the CDC claimed that dental caries declined precipitously during the second half of the 20th Century. But what they failed to mention is that tooth decay rates "precipitously declined" in ALL Western nations, regardless of whether or not fluoridation was used – and most of those countries did NOT fluoridate!7
The American Dental Association (ADA) has helped the CDC in trying to pull the wool over your eyes. For years, the ADA has warned that if you stop fluoridating your water, your rates of tooth decay will increase. Indeed, if fluoride were effective in preventing caries, you would expect to see an increase in tooth decay when fluoridation is stopped. Yet, this is NOT what we see!
This makes it rather ridiculous to argue that water fluoridation is having any sort of health benefit. The science should be as obvious to these government agencies as it is to us, yet they continue to deny and misrepresent the truth, under the pressure of powerful lobbyists holding the purse strings for the "fluoride industry." When we examine the trend of dental caries over time, comparing those who are fluoridated to those who are not, it's easy to understand why so many people are now against fluoridation – including me. I have long advocated against the use of fluoride, as I believe there are far better – SAFER ways to improve your family's dental health.
Bill Osmunson is a full-time dentist with a Masters Degree in Public Health. According to Dr. Osmunson, some studies suggest, when viewed in isolation, that fluoride may offer a minor benefit to your teeth. However, when you factor in the excessive amounts of fluoride we're ingesting from multiple sources, any small benefit is lost under the weight of fluoride's toxic effects.
Remember, fluoride is a cumulative poison.
When authorities try to determine the safety and efficacy of fluoride in drinking water, they calculate estimated water consumption based on a location's average temperature, humidity, geology, and the "average" health status of the people living there – all factors that are so highly variable that any effort to estimate them are little more than a wild guess. How can a decision about "dosing" fluoride in your water be even remotely scientific. Dr. Osmunson explains:
"Is it appropriate to put in a substance into water, where some people may drink less than a liter a day and others drink up to 19 liters a day? That's a huge difference in the dosage amount of fluoride that they are getting. And what about the other sources?
Once fluoride became accepted as wonderful, we started putting it in toothpaste and of course there are the pesticides, the cryolite, and the post-harvest fumigants. And then there are the dental fillings, the dental topical treatment, the fluoride varnishes in the medical products, and the Teflon pans... I started to look at how much we are getting. We're getting much more – two to three times more than when they started fluoridation."
Early on, there were some convincing studies showing fluoride made teeth harder and more able to withstand acids. However, when Dr. Osmunson delved deeper into the literature, he found that the evidence supporting fluoride really wasn't as strong as it first seemed, and fluoride didn't appear to reduce tooth decay to any significant degree. In fact, there's even substantial evidence that populations with less fluoride have less decay. If you would like to hear more from Dr. Osmunson, I invite you to watch our 2011 interview on this topic.
Click HERE to watch the full interview!
Download Interview Transcript
F.A.N. is one of the leading organizations that is working feverishly to eliminate fluoride from the water supply. Dr. Paul Connett is one of our Health Liberty partners and we deeply appreciate and applaud all his organization's hard efforts. We have reprinted their excellent recommendations on how to decrease your fluoride exposure below.
1) Stop Drinking Fluoridated Water:
Tap water consumption is, on average, the largest daily source of fluoride exposure for people who live in areas that add fluoride to the water. Avoiding consumption of fluoridated water is especially critical for infants. If you live in area which fluoridates its water, you can avoid drinking the fluoride in one of three ways:
- Water Filters: One way of avoiding the fluoride from tap water is to purchase a water filter. Not all water filters, however, remove fluoride. The three types of filters that can remove fluoride are reverse osmosis, deionizers (which use ion-exchange resins), and activated alumina. Each of these filters should be able to remove about 90% of the fluoride. By contrast, "activated carbon" filters (e.g., Brita & Pur) do not remove fluoride. For more information on water filters, click here.
- Spring Water: Another way to avoid fluoride from tap water is to purchase spring water. Most brands of spring water contain very low levels of fluoride. Some brands, however, do contain high levels (e.g., Trinity Springs). Before consuming any bottled water on a consistent basis, therefore, you should verify that the fluoride content is less than 0.2 ppm, and ideally less than 0.1 ppm. You can find out the level of fluoride level in some of the popular brands here. You can also find out the fluoride level by calling the number on the water label. (Most companies have this information readily available.)
- Water Distillation: A third way to avoid fluoride from the tap is to purchase a distillation unit. Water distillation will remove most, if not all, of the fluoride. The price for a distillation units varies widely depending on the size. Small counter-top units cost as little as $200, while large units can exceed $1,000.
If you don't know if your area is fluoridated, you can find out by contacting your local water department. If you live in the U.S., you can also find out by going to FAN's State Fluoride Database.
2) Don't Let Your Child Swallow Fluoride Toothpaste
Fluoride toothpaste is often the largest single source of fluoride intake for young children, and is a major risk factor for disfiguring dental fluorosis. This is because children swallow a large amount of the paste that they put in their mouth. In fact, research has shown that it is not uncommon for young children to swallow more fluoride from toothpaste alone than is recommended as an entire day's ingestion from all sources.
If you have a young child, therefore, we recommend that you use a non-fluoride toothpaste. If, however, you do use fluoride toothpaste, it's very important that you supervise your children while they brush to make sure they use no more than a "pea-sized amount" of paste, and that they fully rinse and spit and after they finish. And, lastly, do not purchase candy flavored toothpaste (e.g., bubble-gum and watermelon) as these toothpastes (which still contain adult-strength concentrations of fluoride) increase the risk that your children will swallow it (and actually want to swallow it).
3) Do NOT Get Fluoride Gel Treatments at the Dentist
Although dental researchers have stated on numerous occasions that fluoride gel treatment should ONLY be used for patients at highest risk of cavities, many dentists continue to apply fluoride gels irrespective of the patient's cavity risk. The fluoride gel procedure requires the patient to clamp down on a tray for 4 minutes and uses an extremely concentrated, acidic fluoride gel (12,300 ppm). Because of the fluoride gel's high acidity, the saliva glands produce a large amount of saliva during the treatment, which makes it extremely difficult (both for children and adults) to avoid swallowing the gel.
Even when dentists use precautionary measures such as suction devices, children and adults still ingest significant quantities of the paste, which can cause incredibly high spikes of fluoride in the blood (for up to 15 hours). These fluoride levels place patients, particularly children, at risk for stomach pain, nausea and vomiting, and places a person at risk for short-term kidney damage, harm to the reproductive system, and impairment to glucose metabolism. The next time your dentist asks you whether you want a fluoride gel treatment, say NO.
4) Eat More Fresh, Less Processed Food
When water is fluoridated, it is not just the water that is fluoridated, but all beverages and foods that are made with the water. As a general rule, therefore, the more processed a food is, the more fluoride it has. The good news is that the naturally occurring levels of fluoride in most fresh water (e.g., spring water) and most fresh food (e.g., fruits, vegetables, grain, eggs, milk) is very low. Use this fact to your advantage by trying to shift as much as you can from processed foods to fresh. Also, since processed beverages (e.g., sodas, reconstituted juices, sports drinks) contribute far more to fluoride intake than processed foods, it is most important to focus on reducing your consumption of processed beverages. For more detailed information on how you can cut down on your fluoride intake from processed foods, see FAN's Grocery Store Guide: 7 Ways to Avoid Fluoride in Beverages and Food.
5) Buy Organic Grape Juice and Wine
In the United States, many vineyards use a fluoride pesticide called cryolite. As a result, the levels of fluoride in U.S. grape juice and wine (particularly white grape juice and white wine) are consistently elevated. Indeed, in 2005, the USDA reported that the average level of fluoride exceeded 2 ppm for both white wine and white grape. The levels of fluoride in red wine are also elevated (1 ppm), and so are raisins (2.3 ppm). If you buy grape juice and wine, or if you are a heavy consumer of raisins, buy organic. In the case of wine, if don't want to spend the extra money on organic, consider purchasing a European brand, as Europe uses far less cryolite than the U.S.
6) Reduce Your Tea Consumption (and/or Drink Tea with Younger Leaves)
Be careful of drinking too much tea, particularly bottled and instant varieties. The tea plant accumulates high levels of fluoride, and excess intake of tea is known to cause a painful bone disease called skeletal fluorosis. Some teas though contain high levels of health-boosting antioxidants. Not only are antioxidants good for health in general, they also help to protect you from fluoride toxicity.
In the ideal scenario, one could drink tea with high levels of antioxidants but low levels of fluoride. Recent research suggests that this might be a somewhat obtainable goal. It has recently been shown that the antioxidant levels in tea are far higher in young leaves, than old leaves. This is important because young leaves also happen to have lower levels of fluoride. Indeed, it has been proposed that the fluoride content of tea is an indicator of its quality: the higher the fluoride, the lower the quality, and vice versa.
If you love tea, therefore, try to purchase varieties that are made from young leaves (e.g., "White tea"). This will allow you to maximize tea's known benefits, while reducing its known harm.
Towards this end, avoid bottled and instant teas as they have been to contain low-quality leaves that have very low levels of antioxidants. With bottled and instant tea, therefore, you get the risk (fluoride) without the benefit (antioxidants).
Another option is to drink yerba matte – a caffeinated herbal tea from South America that contains very low levels of fluoride (< 0.2 ppm).
7) Avoid Cooking with Non-Stick Pans
Some research has found that cooking with non-stick-coated pans can significantly increase the fluoride content of food. If you have non-stick pans, consider switching to ceramic or another type of safe pan.
8) Don't Take Cipro and Be Mindful of Other Fluorinated Pharmaceuticals
Many pharmaceuticals are fluorinated, which means they contain something called a "carbon-fluorine bond." Although the carbon-fluoride bond is strong enough to resist breaking down within the body, this is not always the case.
Some fluorinated drugs have been found to metabolize into fluoride within the body and this greatly increases a person's exposure to fluoride. The most notable example is Cipro. Other fluorinated chemicals that are currently known to break down into fluoride include fluorinated anesthetics (Isoflurane & Sevoflurane), Niflumic acid, Flecainide, and Voriconazole. If you are taking any of these drugs, find out if there are any safer alternatives available.
9) Minimize Consumption of Mechanically-Deboned Chicken:
Most meats that are pulverized into a pulp form (e.g., chicken fingers, chicken nuggets) are made using a mechanical deboning processes. This mechanical deboning process increases the quantity of bone particles in the meat. Since bone is the main site of fluoride accumulation in the body, the higher levels of bone particle in mechanically deboned meat results in significantly elevated fluoride levels. Of all the meats that are mechanically deboned, chicken meat has consistently been found to have the highest levels. Thus, minimize consumption of mechanically-deboned chicken.
10) Avoid Fluoridated Salt
If you live in a country which allows fluoridated salt to be sold, make sure that the salt you buy is unfluoridated. Consumption of fluoridated salt can greatly increase a person's fluoride exposure. To see a list of countries that allow fluoridated salt, click here. (From: www.fluoridealert.org)
Many of the researchers who found decreased rates of dental caries after cessation of water fluoridation credited fluoridated dental products (such as toothpaste) and fluoridized salt. Many researchers seem to be unable to believe your dental health could be independent of fluoride, in some form or another. The WHO even recommends fluoridating milk! Researchers also credit improved dental hygiene, increased awareness of the importance of dental health, dental health plans, fissure sealants, and better nutrition as potential factors.
I'm not a fan of fluoridated toothpaste or fluoridated anything else – in order to remain within the "safe limits," you'd have to use such a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste that one tube would last you several years. But I AM a strong advocate of proper nutrition and good dental hygiene.
Tooth decay is generally believed to be caused by acids in your mouth, typically created from sugar being metabolized by bacteria (Streptococcus mutans). You typically don't find dental caries in primitive societies that don't consume excessive sugar. Environmental chemist and anti-fluoridation activist Dr. Paul Connett agrees that sugar is a huge problem, stating:
"We need education, not fluoridation. That education would have a double dividend. By avoiding high fructose sugar, we'll not only score a huge benefit with dental decay but also with obesity and health."
Dr. Osmunson has some interesting insights on the cause of tooth decay as well. He explains how historic studies on fluoridation showed that naturally occurring fluoride also happens to be found in areas rich in calcium and other minerals. This higher mineral content, as opposed to higher fluoride, might be the real reason some people have lower levels of tooth decay.