Fluoride: What It Is And Why You Won’t Want to Use It
Fluoride was a teeth damaging natural water pollutant way before it was a cavity-fighting water supply additive. New research questions the safety and efficacy of fluoride and fluoridation.
Dentists wondered why, in the early 1900’s, in pockets of the Southwest USA, many residents’ teeth were permanently stained yellow, brown or black, some just had white blotches, some were crumbling. They called it “Colorado Brown Stain.” The culprit – high levels of tasteless, odorless fluoride in drinking water, from 2 – 13 parts per million (ppm), which also irrigated crops the locals ate.
These ugly, sometimes deformed, teeth were unusually cavity-free. Since fluoride stained teeth, dentists assumed fluoride also prevented decay. “Colorado Brown Stain” became known by the more scientific term, dental fluorosis. Unfortunately, dentists overlooked what’s obvious today, even to a layperson. They failed to factor in the calcium, magnesium and other teeth strengthening minerals also in the water supply.
During an era when doubting government was anti-American, when public health heroes of the day were idealists who believed they were saviors of their people, fluoridation began in the late 1940’s. One part per million fluoride added to “fluoride deficient” water supplies, reduced decay by 70% without unwanted fluorosis public health officials promised. Holding the paternalist values of their time, they believed mothers couldn’t be trusted to give their children their daily fluoride dose in pill form so they prescribed it into the drinking water. Children up to nine years old would benefit, they told us. Fluoride incorporated into their developing teeth to erupt with a shield against decay as long as they consumed 1 milligram fluoride daily via approximately one quart of 1 ppm fluoridated water.
Children, who didn’t live in fluoridated communities, were (and still are) prescribed fluoride supplements – a drug marketed before safety testing was required by the Food and Drug Administration.
At its inception, fluoridation, or these supplements, was virtually children’s only fluoride source. Now over 62% of US water supplies are fluoridated and so are the foods and beverages grown, bottled and manufactured with that water. There’s a glut of fluoridated dental products on the market, both over-the-counter and by prescription. Fluoridated pesticide residues remain on foods, medicines contain fluoride, and air is polluted by fluoride from industry.
Instead of bringing tooth decay rates down to that enjoyed by early Southwesterners who ate produce from their own gardens, children’s dental fluorosis rates have steeply increased. Yet, tooth decay is still a major problem for malnourished or poorly nourished Americans.
New research proves old-time dentists’ premise was wrong. Fluoride’s possible benefits, if any, are topical. So there’s no good reason to swallow fluoride or put it into the water supply.
The old dogma is beginning to unravel. British researchers report in the British Medical Journal that fluoridation studies are flawed. A Canadian Government report found fluoridation does more harm than good. A US National Institutes of Health Panel found most tooth decay studies, including hundreds on fluoride, scientifically invalid. Even UNICEF, the organization that protects children, reports, “more and more scientists are now seriously questioning the benefits of fluoride, even in small amounts.”
What’s more unbelievable is that the chemicals most used to fluoridate drinking water are silicofluorides, contaminated waste product of industry, that were never safety tested on humans or animals. Meanwhile we are conducting a massive toxicological experiment. Our children are the test subjects
Silicofluorides are linked with children’s increased lead absorption. Studies link fluoride chemicals to bone fractures, lowered IQ, thyroid dysfunction, cancer, allergies and more.
And the American Dental Association is working on a new and improved cavity fighter, even better than fluoride – calcium and phosphate – the minerals they overlooked in the early 1900’s.
Carol S. Kopf is a freelance health writer who has written for many publications, including Reuters Health, WebMD.com, Onhealth.com, and Newsday. She has a BS in Biology and a master’s in Science and Environmental Reporting. As President of the Levittown Safe Water Association, she spearheaded a campaign that ended 29 years of fluoridation in her town in 1983. Carol can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.