Did you know that, as of 2011, the US was one of 11 countries that added fluoride to the majority of the drinking water they offer to the public?
Eleven countries. Eleven of the 196 countries in the world today, 105 of which are considered “developed countries.” Eleven.
Thankfully, that number is decreasing. In 2013, Isreal banned fluoride from their public water, and countries across the world are slowly following in their footsteps.
But why is the majority of the US not following along even when fluoride has been linked with serious health conditions?
Today I want to take a closer look at what fluoride is and does by asking 5 simple questions you may be wondering about fluoride.
Does “Natural” Equal “Safe”?
Just because something says it’s “natural” does not mean it’s safe and you can use as much as you like.
I saw an online advertisement the other day for another country’s dental association that said, “Fluoride… smile, it’s natural,” which really cracked me up. I seemed that they were trying to cleverly convince people that fluoride is no big deal because it’s natural.
Well, let me be the first to tell you if you don’t already know… the fluoride we use in the USA is NOT natural. Besides… a lot of natural things can harm you.
For example… water. If you drink too much water you’ll die.
Perhaps a better example for fluoride would be to compare it to alcohol.
For the most part, alcohol in small amounts isn’t harmful to your body. It works to get medicines (natural, Rx, or OTC) into your body faster. It’s a pain reliever in a sense. It’s a preservative. It’s a lot of things that can be used for good, but it can be toxic to your body in large amounts or with prolonged use. It damages your liver… yet it is natural. You can make it or you can combine the right “natural” ingredients together to ferment and turn to alcohol.
So just because something is “natural”, DOES NOT mean we shouldn’t worry about it and use it as much as we’d like.
5 Questions You May Be Wondering About Fluoride
Here in the US, there’s a big push for consuming fluoride for healthy teeth, especially in children during the time when their teeth are still forming. In fact, it’s recommended that you give it to your infants in their cereal and juice so that their baby teeth come in strong and healthy. It’s in toothpaste, drinking water, foods, supplements, and more.
In fact, it’s recommended that you give it to your infants in their cereal and juice so that their baby teeth come in strong and healthy. It’s in toothpaste, drinking water, foods, supplements, and more.
Today I want to ask 5 questions about fluoride. What exactly is it, what does it do, is it safe, what ages are at risk for toxicity, and what are the now known effects of it?
1. What Is Fluoride Really?
Think hard back to the periodic table from school. Do you remember all those elements? Do you remember “Fluorine”? Well, fluoride is one of the ions in the element of fluorine. Fluoride is found naturally in water, soil, foods, and in several minerals. But… this is not the fluoride that goes into your child’s toothpaste or into the public drinking water here in the US.
For the most part fluoride is an industrial byproduct of the aluminum and fertilizer industries and this is what’s being added to your drinking water, foods, dental hygiene products, and supplements to help make teeth resistant to decay. Any guesses as to where the US buys this waste product from? China… it’s more cost effective that way.
Originally it was only used as an insecticide and for pest control… as in rat-killer. When you’re talking about harmful doses, it’s known to be more harmful than lead, but slightly less harmful than arsenic. Good to know. Makes me feel great about rubbing it all over my teeth and ingesting it. How about you?
2. How Does Fluoride Work?
Fluoride is supposed to fill in the spots on teeth where the enamel is demineralizing or breaking down. Let’s just say it’s getting thin. These thin areas are more susceptible to decay and cavities. The fluoride fills in these thin areas and helps the enamel to remineralize or get thicker and protect it from damage or decay. Sounds great, right? Does it work? Sure… to an extent.
I’m not here to argue whether fluoride really works. I’m sure it does. Many studies have been done on it and, for the most part, solidified the fact that it helps to prevent cavities from forming, but the thing is… it’s doing more than preventing cavities, and in many cases, it’s not even doing that so it’s not a FOR SURE thing.
3. How Much Fluoride Is Safe?
The problem isn’t necessarily with the amount of fluoride in toothpaste, mouthwash, food, or water… it’s that you can’t regulate how much is entering the body. Some kids drink WAY more juice and water than others. Some kids swallow more toothpaste than others. You just can’t determine how much is entering their bodies, and fluoride accumulates in the body and can lead to health problems. More on this below.
4. Who Is Most At Risk For Fluoride Toxicity?
Bottle-fed babies… straight up. Why?
Mainly because you’re advised to use tap water or “infant water” (with added fluoride) to mix with formula, and you know how much babies eat, right. Plus… again, fluoride accumulates in the body so when you start giving it to them when they’re not even a day old, they’ve got a head start on storing it up.
5. What Effects Does Fluoride Have On The Body?
Fluoride is devastating to the body. Among the most common things I’ve found from my research on it, osteoporosis (softening of the bones), cancer (in the bones), Alzheimer’s and learning disabilities (due to increased absorption of aluminum), and fluorosis (white spots on the teeth).
Plus, fluoride accumulates in the body. When fluoride is absorbed, it’s filtered by the kidneys, but they only excrete 50-60% and that’s in adults. In children, it’s much less (around 20%). The remaining amounts are stored in the bones and the pineal gland (in the brain… regulates sleep/wake cycles, regulates the onset of puberty in females, and protects the body from free radicals).
I’m not going to go into detail on each of these things. If you want to learn more I suggest you check out the sources below and learn more. Don’t take my word for it. Do your own research and find out why for yourself. Google “what is fluoride” or “fluoride effects on the body” and read away. There’s a lot of information out there. Then make an informed decision on whether or not you’re going to allow it in your family or if you’re going to steer clear of it.
What did you learn about fluoride today that you didn’t know? Share with me in the comments or share on Growing Up Herbal’s Facebook page!
Miss The Other Posts In This Series? Get Them Here:
- How To Keep Kids Teeth Clean & Healthy Without Fluoride
- Saying “No” To Fluoride? How To Tell Your Dentist
- The Case Against Fluoride
- The Fluoride Deception