Fluoridated Water Destroys Your Brain and Teeth

effects of fluoride in water

Story at-a-glance

  • In the U.S., 57 percent of youth between the ages of 6 and 19 years have dental fluorosis
  • When fluoridation was first started in the U.S. in 1945, it was promised that only 10 percent of people would suffer from mild dental fluorosis
  • Public health officials often brush off fluorosis as purely aesthetic, but in reality fluorosis is an outward sign that fluoride is damaging the body


This is an older article that may not reflect Dr. Mercola’s current view on this topic. Use our search engine to find Dr. Mercola’s latest position on any health topic.

By Dr. Mercola

In the U.S., water fluoridation has been widespread for the last 70 years. Despite the fact that clear-cut evidence suggests consuming fluoride is dangerous to human health and does little to protect teeth from cavities, it continues to be supported and recommended by nearly all public health and academic institutions.

This includes the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Academy of Pediatrics, U.S. Public Health Service and the World Health Organization (WHO). The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) even went so far as to name water fluoridation as one of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th century.

Meanwhile, the evidence continues to stack up against this archaic practice, with federal data now showing more than half of U.S. kids may be suffering ill effects from consuming too much fluoride.

Most US Kids Have Fluoride-Damaged Teeth

According to research presented at the April 2017 National Oral Health Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, 57 percent of youth between the ages of 6 and 19 years have dental fluorosis, a condition in which your tooth enamel becomes progressively discolored and mottled, according to data from 2011 to 2012.1

The statistic represents an increase from 37 percent reported from 1999 to 2004. Further, the author stated, "There was a significant increase in caries experience ..." When Fluoride Action Network (FAN) researchers analyzed the same set of data, they found "The 2011 to 2012 NHANES survey found dental fluorosis in 58.3 percent of the surveyed adolescents, including an astonishing 21.2 percent with moderate fluorosis and 2 percent with severe."2

According to FAN, "The data suggests that up to 24 million adolescents now have some form of dental fluorosis, with over 8 million adolescents having moderate fluorosis, and 840,000 having severe fluorosis."

In stark contrast, when fluoridation was first started in the U.S. in 1945, it was promised that only 10 percent of people would suffer from mild dental fluorosis.3 Public health officials often brush off fluorosis as a purely aesthetic issue, one they believe is a good trade-off for the supposed benefits of fluoride but, in reality, fluorosis is an outward sign that fluoride is damaging the body.

Research has found impairment in cognitive abilities among children with fluorosis (even mild fluorosis) compared to children with no fluorosis. And some studies have even found that children with higher levels of fluorosis have increased rates of cavities.4,5

US Lowered Fluoride Levels in Drinking Water, but Risks Still Remain

With all the fanfare over water fluoridation, you may be surprised to learn that in 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced plans to lower the recommended level of fluoride in drinking water for the first time in 50 years. This meant the level of fluoride in drinking water was reduced to 0.7 mg/L from a previously recommended range of between 0.7 to 1.2 mg/L.

This was a significant reduction in fluoride exposure for some U.S. communities, but it's important to understand that at doses ranging from 0.7 to 2.3 mg/L of fluoride per day, adverse effects including reduced IQ, behavioral alterations, neurochemical changes, hypothyroidism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been demonstrated.

Also noteworthy, reduced IQ has been seen in study participants with higher urinary fluoride concentrations, even when no dental fluorosis was present, which suggests that the doses of fluoride that impair cognitive ability are lower than those that cause severe dental fluorosis.6

FAN is among a coalition of environmental, medical and health groups urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban the addition of fluoride to public drinking water supplies.

In a petition toward this end, they highlighted several other studies that also demonstrated "fluoride's ability to cause neurotoxic effects at low levels," including one that found just 0.5 uM of fluoride (.009 mg/L) caused lipid peroxidation after 48 hours of exposure. "Most individuals living in fluoridated areas in the United States have fluoride levels in their blood that exceed this level," they wrote.

National Cancer Institute Researcher Warned Against Fluoride in the 1960s

Chemist Dean Burk, Ph.D., co-founded the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 1937 and headed its cytochemistry department for over 30 years. In the taped interview, he equates water fluoridation to "public murder,"7 referring to a study that had been done on the 10 largest U.S. cities with fluoridation compared to the 10 largest without it.

The study clearly demonstrated that deaths from cancer abruptly rose in as little as a year or two after fluoridation began. This and other studies linking fluoride to cancer were government-ordered but were quickly buried once fluoride was found to be linked to dramatic increases in cancer.

Since then, a 2012 study found a link between fluoride exposure and osteosarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer.8 A 2006 study also found a link between fluoride exposure in drinking water during childhood and the incidence of osteosarcoma among men.9 Such a link is biologically plausible, according to FAN, because of the following:10

"The plausibility of a fluoride/osteosarcoma connection is grounded in the three considerations:

1. Bone is the principal site of fluoride accumulation, particularly during the growth spurts of childhood;

2. Fluoride is a mutagen when present at sufficient concentrations; and

3. Fluoride stimulates the proliferation of bone-forming cells (osteoblasts), which may increase the risk for some of the dividing cells to become malignant."

In addition, the inhalation of airborne fluoride has been found to be a potential cause of bladder cancer and lung cancer among fluoride-exposed workers.11

'If It's Not Effective, Why Do It?'

Retired journalist Jack Crowther of Rutland, Vermont, wrote an opinion piece for news outlet VT Digger that brings up a very important point: "Regardless of the other objections to fluoridation, if it's not effective, why do it?"12

He presents graphs of data prepared by FAN showing that tooth decay in countries that fluoridate most or some of their water (or salt) has been on the decline from 1970 to 2010. Likewise, another graph shows that tooth decay has also been on decline in countries with no water (or salt) fluoridation during the same period, including Italy, Sweden, Finland, Japan, Norway and Belgium.

If you're surprised that so many countries do not fluoridate their water, you should know that the U.S. is in the minority when it comes to water fluoridation. In fact, the vast majority (97 percent) of Western Europe has rejected water fluoridation, whereas in the U.S. 200 million Americans live in areas where water is fluoridated.

Tooth decay in 12-year-olds is coming down as fast, if not faster, in nonfluoridated countries as it is in fluoridated countries. In one Lithuanian study, for instance, it was shown that dental caries did not vary according to the level of fluoride in the water.

"Regardless of the concentration of fluoride in the drinking water, the prevalence of past and present caries was high," the researchers noted,13 showing once again that subjecting entire populations to a form of mass medication without informed consent is highly questionable and dangerous, especially considering its unnecessary and ineffective.

Leading Fluoride Supporter Changed His Position When Confronted With the Evidence

Crowther also features data from the late New Zealand dentist John Colquhoun, who was a leading fluoridation supporter until he delved into the research in 1980.

His international tour showed no difference between rates of tooth decay in the nonfluoridated versus fluoridated areas he visited, causing him to change his position and become a fluoridation opponent. "For the remainder of his life, Colquhoun sought to end fluoridation, a program he had helped create," Crowther said.14 An interview with Colquhoun is above and well worth watching. FAN added:15

"The most obvious reason to end fluoridation is that it is now known that fluoride's main benefit comes from topical contact with the teeth, not from ingestion. Even the CDC's Oral Health Division now acknowledges this.

There is simply no need, therefore, to swallow fluoride, whether in the water, toothpaste or any other form. Further, despite early claims that fluoridated water would reduce cavities by 65 percent, modern large-scale studies show no consistent or meaningful difference in the cavity rates of fluoridated and nonfluoridated areas."

Fortunately, the word that fluoridation is not a suitable means for keeping teeth healthy is spreading, including in Meadville, Pennsylvania. The city was considering adding fluoride to their water, necessitating a fluoride forum held May 4, 2017.

Fourteen speakers spoke in opposition of fluoridation while 11 spoke in favor of it, trying to sway the Meadville Area Water Authority board's decision. Board member Hal Tubbs, who voted against fluoridation, pointed out that most of those in favor were affiliated with the pro-fluoridation Meadville Smiles group, leaving only perhaps one independent voice.

"This tells me that actual customers are against fluoridated water by a count of 14 to one," Tubbs wrote in an email to The Meadville Tribune. "What I took away from the presentation is that our customers want to decide and control what they put into their bodies … They don't want a fluoride additive forced on them."16

Protecting Your Oral Health Has Nothing to Do With Fluoride

When it comes to good oral hygiene and preventing cavities, please remember, drinking fluoridated water and brushing your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste is not the answer. Rather, it's about your diet and proper dental care: brushing and flossing. By avoiding sugars and processed foods, you prevent the proliferation of the bacteria that cause decay in the first place.

Following up with proper brushing and flossing and getting regular cleanings with a mercury-free biological dentist will ensure that your teeth and gums stay healthy naturally.

Your toothbrush and natural fluoride-free toothpaste are important, but don't be misled by thinking they're the only options for sound dental health. Many natural substances, like the foods you eat, also have the power to drastically improve the health of your teeth and gums, and thereby the health of the rest of your body, too.

Recommendations released by The University of Calgary School of Public Policy championed the use of prevention and education to prevent early childhood cavities, noting water fluoridation wouldn't be needed if such measures were effectively practiced.

The paper's authors even pointed out that water fluoridation is not preventing tooth decay, as areas with water fluoridation still have a high rate of early childhood cavities. The recommendations call for increased education for parents on the importance of proper feeding and dental hygiene for infants, as well as for health care professionals to discuss these issues with patients.17

Help End the Practice of Fluoridation

There's no doubt about it: Fluoride should not be ingested. Even scientists from the EPA's National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory have classified fluoride as a "chemical having substantial evidence of developmental neurotoxicity."

Furthermore, according to the CDC, 41 percent of American adolescents now have dental fluorosis — unattractive discoloration and mottling of the teeth that indicate overexposure to fluoride. Clearly, children are being overexposed, and their health and development put in jeopardy. Why? 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 worldwide. 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, protect your drinking water and support the fluoride-free movement by making a tax deductible donation to the Fluoride Action Network today.

Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More

I encourage you to visit the website of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) and visit the links below:

Together, Let's Help FAN Get the Funding They Deserve

In my opinion, there are very few NGOs that are as effective and efficient as FAN. Its small team has led the charge to end fluoridation and will continue to do so with our help! Please make a donation today to help FAN end the absurdity of fluoridation.

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