By Dr. Mercola
Fluoride is a toxic industrial waste product that is a poison to your body even in trace amounts, yet it is added to the majority of US water supplies using the rationale that it helps prevent dental cavities.
The archaic practice continues even though it is now widely recognized that fluoride's only justifiable benefit comes from topical contact with teeth – and even that is debatable.
To put it simply, there are FAR better options for decreasing tooth decay than ingesting a harmful industrial pollutant or using a topical poison like fluoride… in fact, new research suggests even chocolate extract would would make a better alternative.
Chocolate Toothpaste Works Better Than Fluoride
A recent study presented at the American Dental Association (ADA) 2013 Annual Session pitted fluoride toothpaste against a new toothpaste that contains the naturally-occurring cacao extract theobromine.
This test determined which product better repaired and re-mineralized exposed dentin (the tissue that makes up the bulk of your teeth below the enamel). Exposed dentin is a leading cause of tooth hypersensitivity.
The results showed that patients who brushed their teeth with the cacao-extract toothpaste twice a day for one week had "100 percent dental occlusion" with their tooth dentin becoming re-mineralized or repaired. According to a press release:1
"The comparison to toothpastes containing fluoride - one as much as 5,000 ppm [parts per million] - validates what our research has shown all along: that Rennou [the cocoa extract] … is more effective and safer than fluoride, which can be toxic if ingested."
Past research has also shown that the chocolate ingredient theobromine works better than fluoride. When lesions in artificial enamel were treated with theobromine, remineralization occurred at a greater rate than when they were treated with fluoride.2 The study found, in fact, that theobromine made teeth less vulnerable to bacterial acid erosion that could lead to cavities.3
Scientists Now Questioning Whether Fluoride Works to Fight Cavities
With potential alternatives like theobromine, which, unlike fluoride, are not harmful when swallowed, it's unfortunate that fluoride can still be found in a vast assortment of toothpastes, mouthwashes and professionally applied fluoride treatments. It's even added to your drinking water for this purpose, as mentioned.
Yet fluoride, long heralded as the answer to decaying teeth, is receiving increasing scrutiny – and for good reason.
A groundbreaking study published in the journal Langmuir4 uncovered that the fluorapatite layer formed on your teeth from fluoride is a mere six nanometers thick. To understand just how thin this is, you'd need 10,000 of these layers to get the width of a strand of your hair!
Scientists now question whether this ultra-thin layer can actually protect your enamel and provide any discernible benefit, considering the fact that it is quickly eliminated by simple chewing. They wrote:
" …it has to be asked whether such narrow… layers really can act as protective layers for the enamel."
Fluoride Toothpaste Can Be Deadly to Children
I'm not a fan of fluoridated toothpaste for adults or children, but if you do decide to use it, it's probably best to keep it safely out of the reach of your children. 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.5
If you have a young child, it's recommended 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 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). Still, it's hard to ignore the absurdity that poison control should be called if you swallow a quarter milligram of fluoride from toothpaste while just ONE glass of water can contain this amount of fluoride.
The Insanity of Swallowing Fluoride to Prevent Cavities
Apply toxic fluoride topically to your teeth is bad enough from a health (and lack of effectiveness) perspective, but swallowing it daily in your drinking water takes this fluoride insanity to a whole other level.
The science clearly demonstrates that fluoride is a toxic chemical that accumulates in your tissues over time, wreaks havoc with enzymes, and produces a number of serious adverse health effects, including neurological and endocrine dysfunction.
Children are particularly at risk for adverse effects of overexposure. Scientists from the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory have classified fluoride as a "chemical having substantial evidence of developmental neurotoxicity," 25 studies have now reported an association between fluoride exposure and reduced IQ in children.
Studies have shown fluoride toxicity can lead to the following wide-ranging problems. To learn more, watch the documentary film Fluoridegate, below.
Increases lead absorption Disrupts collagen synthesis Hyperactivity and/or lethargy 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
The Safest Solution to Better Dental Health?
Toothpaste containing natural ingredients, like theobromine and others, appears to be more effective and safer than fluoride-containing toothpastes. Water fluoridation, too, is ineffective and may offer no benefit at all for your teeth, not to mention placing your overall health in jeopardy. There's no reason to risk it. Here are my basic guidelines for optimizing your dental health, safely and naturally:
- Avoid fluoridated water and fluoridated toothpaste.
- Minimize your sugar and grain consumption. Keep your fructose intake to less than 25 grams per day. Avoid processed foods.
- Make sure you consume a diet rich in fresh, whole foods, fermented vegetables, and grass-fed meats, which will ensure you're getting plenty of the minerals that are so important for strong bones and teeth.
- Practice good oral hygiene and get regular cleanings from a mercury-free natural dentist.
- Consider oil pulling with coconut oil, which is a powerful inhibitor of a large variety of pathogenic organisms.
Join the Fight to Get Fluoride Out of Drinking Water
There's no doubt about it: Fluoride should not be ingested. At least when it comes to topical application, you have a choice. You can easily buy fluoride-free toothpaste and mouthwash. But you're stuck with whatever your community puts in your water, and it's very difficult to filter out of your water once it's added. Many do not have the resources or the knowledge to do so.
The only real solution is to stop the archaic practice of water fluoridation in the first place. Fortunately, the Fluoride Action Network has a game plan to END water fluoridation, both in the United States and Canada. Clean, pure water is a prerequisite to optimal health. Industrial chemicals, drugs and other toxic additives really have no place in our water supplies. So, please, support the anti-fluoride movement by making a donation to the Fluoride Action Network today.