Most of us have grown up and perhaps even still, believing that fluoride is a necessity for strong and healthy teeth. It is a topic that is brought up by patients in my office almost on a daily basis. But the daily use of fluoride, by choice, and even indirectly through the drinking water or foodstuff, is not something that I condone as good health practice.
Here we will discuss the health implications of fluoride on the body. If you are looking for a complete history on how the fluoridation of our water came to be, please check out Chapter 3 in The Holistic Dental Matrix for an indepth look at its history.
The International Academy of Medicine and Toxicology has a great resource for the issues that fluoride causes, ranging from: Dental Fluorosis to Bone Disease, from Thyroid dysfunction to Neurotoxic effects to name a few. 1
The first visible sign of overexposure to fluoride is fluorosis. Fluorosis is the mineralization of tooth enamel that causes discoloration and pitting. The pitted areas then can become stained yellow or brown. It is something that is caused by the overexposure to fluoride PRIOR to the eruption of the tooth. It is hard to think, so much of the harm is being done before our children have a chance and opportunity to make decisions for themselves. It is something that is irreversible and unsightly.
The Center for Disease and Control posted a 2010 data brief from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey which found some staggering numbers. They state that children ages 6-11 make up 33.4% of those with fluorosis, children 12-15 had the highest prevalence of dental fluorosis at 40.6%, children 16-19 years at 36.1%, with the number slowly decreasing with the lowest being adults ages 40-49 making up 8.7%.2
If we look at the highest affected group, those between the ages of 12-15, the drastic increase from 1986-1987 and then from 1999-2004 is alarming.
State of Fluorosis for Children 12-15 Years of Age
Moderate to Severe
If these numbers aren’t shocking and making you want to proactively change your habits, what about the other issues that fluoride is posing on our health.
There have been numerous studies that are looking into the correlation of high fluoride exposure and lowered IQ’s. Many of the studies have taken place in China due to their naturally high fluoride content in the water, meaning, it isn’t being added and supplemented like that of 74.4% of the US population.3
In a Harvard review that has created a compilation of many of these studies, factoring in the validity, sample size and any duplicate studies. What they found was consistently low IQs for children in areas of higher fluoride exposure than those that weren’t. Those that were deemed “low exposure” or the reference group, had no more than 1% mg/L, while some considered high at 1.8mg/L.4 That doesn’t seem like too big of a margin, especially when we consider the fact that the EPA’s current enforceable maximum fluoride level in the United State’s drinking water is set at 4mg/L.5
Now, the EPA does not state that lowered IQs is a result from high level of fluoride exposure but it does state that bone disease and mottled teeth in children are.5
So yes, it seems like our children as of now are doomed unless some massive conscience decisions are made, but what does that mean for the rest of us that have been exposed for years?
How about the drastic upturn in thyroid issues that have plagued our nation and the world? According to the International Journal of Cancer if the rate that thyroid cancer continues to climb, by 2030 it could be the fourth most common cancer.6 So what does that have to do with fluoride?
Studies have shown that fluoride intake reduces the T3 and T4 levels while increasing TSH levels. It has also been found that not only is it affecting the current state, but this is generational, meaning these issues are being passed onto offspring.7 And all of this is happening because fluoride is competing with the ions in the thyroid glands.
These are just a few examples of the health implications overexposure of fluoride can pose. Here is the thing, we think of fluoride in our tap water and our toothpaste…. But it is in so much more! All of the bottled beverage products you are purchasing are likely accessing their water from a fluoridated water source. Your produce, yes your fruits and vegetables are being watered with the same water which there is so much research out there telling us that what our food is being fed ie water, soil and nutrients (and even the toxic fertilizers) are becoming a part of that food itself. And of course our beloved “SAD” diet, the Standard American Diet, being processed, is of course not healthy, but again, being used with the most local accessible, cheap means of water for its production which means even more additional fluoride is finding its way into your body.
So what do we do? How do we help ourselves and our children? First, make educated purchasing decisions. The majority of toothpastes out there have additional fluoride. Find a more nature, fluoride-free tooth polish that doesn’t have a label warning that reads:
“Keep out of reach of children under 6 yrs. of age. If more than used for brushing is accidently swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away. Directions: adults and children 2 yrs and older: brush teeth thoroughly after meals or at least twice a day or use as directed by a dentist. Do not swallow, to minimize swallowing use a pea sized amount in children under 6”
Because if the manufacturer’s are already stating that you should not swallow its fluoridated toothpaste, and if you do, then you should call Poison Control…. Why should we believe it is safe at all?
You can also purchase a reverse osmosis water filter for your home which will help take out the unwanted additives. Because as bad as fluoride may be for our body, one massive concern of mine is how we have no idea how it interacts with other pollutants and toxins out there in our water and systems and how that affects us. Because as of now, all of the research is surrounding around fluoride as a singular component and its effects, but not that of mixing it with everything else that is out there.
Stay safe, stay healthy and always reach out with more questions of concerns.
To your Best Health,
Dr. Nicholas Meyer
- “Fluoride Exposure and Human Health Risks” The International Academy of Medicine and Toxicology
- “Prevalence and Severity of Dental Fluorosis in the United States, 1999-2004” Center for Disease Control and Prevention
- “Water Fluoridation Data and Statistics” Center for Disease Control and Prevention
- “Developmental Fluoride Neurotoxicity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis” Digital Access To Scholarship At Harvard
- “National Primary Drinking Water Regulations” United States Environmental Protection Agency
- “Thyroid Cancer Mortality and Incidence: A Global Overview” International Journal of Cancer
- “Impact of Drinking Water Fluoride on Human Thyroid Hormones: A Case-Control Study” Nature