By Dr. Mercola
People in the UK may want to pay special attention to the following issue. The Blackpool Council's Health and Wellbeing Board recently proposed adding fluoride to milk in its primary schools.
This so-called "dental milk" would ostensibly be introduced to promote dental health in school age children, since the town does not fluoridate its municipal water supplies. The proposal was supported by "an overwhelming majority."
The dental health in Blackpool children is said to be among the worst in the country, with 43 percent of 12-year olds having at least one unhealthy tooth,1 compared to 33.4 percent nationally.
Ten other areas of the UK have already introduced fluoridated milk to its students: St Helens, Knowsley, Wirral, West Cheshire, Manchester, Trafford, Leeds, Sheffield, Barnsley and Doncaster.
Councilor Tony Williams said parents should be given both sides of the argument before agreeing to let their children have fluoridated milk.
"I believe that just adding fluoride to school milk falls far short of the need to tackle the problem," he told the British Gazette.2 "Better school dental programs should also be introduced with an increase in school visits from NHS dentists and oral hygiene specialists.
"Most school children in Blackpool are now eating two breakfasts a day with the school serving including starch and syrup. Children should be allowed and encouraged to brush their teeth in school after every meal."
In response, cabinet member for health, Ivan Taylor, said that the council has not yet made any decision on the matter, but that they will be "testing the opinion of schools and anyone else that's interested." He also noted that parents would have the right to choose if they want their children to receive fluoridated milk or not.
Why Is Poisoning of Children Considered a Valuable Public Health Policy?
The debate over the dangers of fluoride has been ongoing for more than six decades, despite the fact that study after study has confirmed that fluoride is a dangerous, toxic poison that bio-accumulates in your body while being ineffective at preventing dental decay.
Fluoride can also create a calcium deficiency situation by precipitating calcium out of solution. This causes low blood calcium, as well as the buildup of calcium stones and crystals in joints and organs. This could potentially turn out to be a concern with regard to adding fluoride to calcium-rich milk...
Worse yet, when you consider the fact that there are 25 studies showing that fluoride reduces IQ in children, the idea of giving fluoridated milk to school children is a shockingly bad idea, even if they don't also drink fluoridated water. Approximately 100 animal studies have also linked fluoride to brain damage. This includes such effects as:3
Reduction in nicotinic acetylcholine receptors Damage to the hippocampus Formation of beta-amyloid plaques (the classic brain abnormality in Alzheimer's disease) Reduction in lipid content Damage to the purkinje cells Exacerbation of lesions induced by iodine deficiency Impaired antioxidant defense systems Increased uptake of aluminum Accumulation of fluoride in the pineal gland
One particularly striking animal study4 published in 1995 showed that fluoride ingestion had a profound influence on the animals' brains and altered behavior. Pregnant rats given fluoride produced hyperactive offspring. And animals given fluoride after birth became apathetic, lethargic "couch potatoes." Other research has linked fluoride toxicity with the wide-ranging problems listed below.
Increases lead absorption Disrupts collagen synthesis Increases manganese absorption, which is also linked to lower IQ in children Crippling skeletal fluorosis and bone fractures Genetic damage and cell death Increased tumor and cancer growth Disrupts immune system Inhibits antibody production Brain damage, and lowered IQ Dementia Arthritis Severe eye problems, including blindness Impaired thyroid function Bone cancer (osteosarcoma) Inactivates 62 enzymes Muscle disorders
Important Facts About Fluoride
After reviewing the available evidence, the only rational conclusion you can come to is that fluoride's health dangers far outweigh the marginal dental benefits it might offer. For example, the science is very clear about the following:
- Fluoride acts as a cumulative poison and is in no way a "nutrient." It offers NO benefits at all to the human body.
- Fluoride exposure for many can easily reach toxic levels. For example, poison control should be called if you swallow a quarter milligram of fluoride from toothpaste. Meanwhile just ONE glass of fluoridated water can contain this amount of fluoride.
- Fluoride is a cumulative poison that has been proven to cause wide-ranging, serious health problems, such as damage to your bones, brain and endocrine system.
- Dental caries can be prevented with means other than fluoridation, thereby avoiding the adverse effects of fluoride.
- Recent research reveals that ingesting fluoride in supplement form does not reduce cavities in primary teeth, and may in fact cause harm.
- When hydrofluorosilicic acid is added to water, over 99% goes down the drain and into the environment. It never comes in contact with a human tooth
A 2011 Cochrane Database Review,5 which looked at 11 studies involving more than 7,000 children, showed that the effect of fluoride supplements (in the form of tablets, drops, lozenges and chewing gum) on primary teeth could not be determined, with one study showing no cavity-reducing effect. Meanwhile, the study revealed that no difference was noted between fluoride supplements or topical fluoride for preventing cavities. The researchers noted:
"In the review, no conclusion could be reached about the effectiveness of fluoride supplements in preventing tooth decay in young children (less than 6 years of age) with deciduous teeth. Moreover, insufficient evidence exists to show whether or not using fluoride supplements in young children (less than 6 years of age) could mottle teeth (fluorosis), an effect of chronic ingestion of excessive amounts of fluoride."
Aspartame—Another Harmful Ingredient Considered for Addition to Dairy
Earlier this year, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) filed a petition with the FDA requesting the agency "amend the standard of identity" for milk and 17 other dairy products. This was done to provide for the use of any safe and suitable sweetener as an optional ingredient — including non-nutritive sweeteners such as aspartame—without having to indicate its use on the label.
The IDFA and NMPF claimed the proposed amendments would "promote more healthful eating practices and reduce childhood obesity by providing for lower-calorie flavored milk products" since many children are more inclined to drink flavored milk products than unflavored milk.
Funny how big business' ideas of "helping children" keep revolving around the use of wholly unnatural ingredients that have clearly been proven toxic! In this case, I'm not sure what's more frustrating: the fact that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) insists on using the flawed theory of calories as a measure of the "healthfulness" of school meals; their misguided insistence on fat free and low fat products to combat obesity; or their ignorant stance on artificial sweeteners...
When combined, what you end up with is a nutritional nightmare. How can anyone believe a fat-free, hormone-laced pasteurized milk-like product from cows raised on genetically engineered corn, flavored with artificial flavors, colors and chemical sweeteners might actually do a growing body good? The nutritional illiteracy within these agencies is staggering... yet they're responsible for making decisions that affect over 30 million school children across the US on a daily basis.
What Really Causes Cavities and Obesity?
Interestingly, the root cause behind both of these problems that "dental milk" and "low-calorie" artificially sweetened milk propose to address is identical, and can be summed up in two words: sweetened beverages—and when it comes to obesity, this includes those sweetened with artificial sweeteners!
Soda and other sweet beverages, including all fruit juices, have long been known to increase your risk of cavities. Many of these types of beverages supply a double-whammy because they also cause dental erosion, which is a condition independent of the microbial action that produces cavities. Unlike caries, dental erosion is a process of incremental decalcification, which, over time, literally dissolves your teeth.
If officials are adamant about pushing fluoride into a drink, it would appear to be a better choice to dump it into soda instead of milk or tap water.
Sweetened beverages of ALL kinds are also one of the primary culprits behind our skyrocketing obesity rates, which are closely mirrored in both the UK and the US. As recently reported in the Guardian Express,6 kids are 40 percent heavier today compared to just 25 years ago, and a growing number of studies have linked rising childhood obesity rates to increased consumption of sugary beverages, including those sweetened with no- or low-cal sweeteners.
In fact, artificial sweeteners have been shown to cause greater weight gain than calorie-laden sugars, and recent research has also found that diet soda drinkers suffer the same exact health problems as those who opt for regular soda, such as excessive weight gain, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke.7, 8 In short, cutting out sweetened beverages is one of the quickest ways to simultaneously address your child's dental health and weight.
The Best Way to Ensure Healthy Teeth
Anyone who has ever read Dr. Weston Price's book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration will soon recognize that diet is a major factor in dental health. Dr. Price wrote this book in 1920 and it is full of pictures of cultures with excellent dental health that rapidly deteriorated once processed Western food was introduced. When Dr. Price studied these native diets, he noticed some similarities in the foods that kept them so healthy. Among them:
- The foods were natural, unprocessed, and organic (and contained no sugar except for the occasional bit of honey or maple syrup).
- The people ate foods that grew in their native environment. In other words, they ate locally grown, seasonal foods.
- Many of the cultures ate unpasteurized dairy products, and all of them ate fermented foods.
- The people ate a significant portion of their food raw.
- All of the cultures ate animal products, including animal fat and, often, full-fat butter and organ meats.
I believe that if you have an optimal diet, without processed foods and sugars from infancy, you can be virtually assured of cavity-free teeth. All of the brushing and flossing in the world will not give you the healthy teeth that following the eating patterns described above will, so if you value your pearly whites, get started eating a healthier diet today.
Improve Your Health by Ditching Sweetened Drinks
Sweetened beverages, whether sweetened with sugar, corn syrup, naturally-occurring fructose, or artificial sweeteners like aspartame, are among the worst culprits in the fight against obesity and related health problems, including diabetes and heart disease. Sweetened drinks are also a primary cause of cavities. Ditching ALL of these types of beverages can go a long way toward reducing your and your child's risk for cavities and weight gain—not to mention a long list of other chronic health problems.
Your best and most cost-effective beverage choice is to drink filtered tap water. Nothing beats pure water when it comes to serving your body's needs. If you really feel the urge for a carbonated beverage, try sparkling mineral water with a squirt of lime or lemon juice.
Since we're on the topic of milk, I would also like to add my latest recommendations. As always of course, the only acceptable dairy products would be raw, unpasteurized organic varieties. Raw is more important than organic so don't be fooled. Although raw milk is only available commercially in a few states in the US, nearly everyone can get it by going to RealMilk.com. For those of you who live in the UK or Ireland, The Natural Food Finder9 is one resource.
I recommend drinking whole milk only; the lower the fat content the more processed and less wholesome it is.