There’s an old adage that says if you repeat a lie often enough it gets accepted as the truth.
As a clinical nutritionist I've witnessed many such lies that have resulted in compromised health, but today I’d like to focus on fluoride and its dangers. When attempting to reduce the toxic load on the body, I’m a big advocate of focusing on the things you have control over vs. the things we don’t.
In other words, air pollution is a reality but you don’t have much choice about breathing. On the other hand, the type of toothpaste that you use or the type of water you drink IS controllable.
When Did a Toxic Substance Suddenly Become Good For You?
In the 1940s fluoride was considered, correctly, to be a toxin and environmental pollutant. There were corporate lawsuits filed against the phosphate fertilizer industry and the aluminum industry, to name two, that produced waste products containing large quantities of fluoride.
Talk about turning “lemons into lemonade”- in a brilliant PR campaign, fluoride suddenly became a necessary nutrient for prevention of tooth decay. And of course the lawsuits fell by the wayside when fluoride was no longer considered to be a toxin, earning the PR company a hefty bonus no doubt, as it saved the above corporations literally billions of dollars in cleanup.
Does Your Dentist Recommend Fluoride Treatments?
I still remember the first time a dentist offered to give my children fluoride treatments. I was shocked. Why would I want to coat my children's teeth with something I always considered to be a toxin?
Granted I’m a bit atypical due to my training, but I was definitely made to feel like a bad mother for not providing “needed fluoride treatments” for my children's teeth – that are very healthy I might add without the “benefit” of fluoride!
Currently about half of the United States' drinking water supply is fluoridated in an attempt to reduce cavities in children. You can go online to see if your city’s water is affected. Boiling water removes chlorine but it unfortunately concentrates fluoride levels. Water filters, unless they are the reverse osmosis type, do not remove fluoride either.
What are the Dangers?
According to the field of clinical toxicology, fluoride is more poisonous than lead and only slightly less poisonous than arsenic. It is considered to be a poison that accumulates in bone as time passes. Heavy metals such as lead do this as well. When the body is under stress or ages, bone breaks down and these poisons are re-released into the system. Symptoms in sensitive individuals include:
• skin eruptions such as:
· atopic dermatitis,
• gastrointestinal distress
Fortunately these sensitivity reactions usually disappear after discontinued use, but we are about to discuss that fluoride accumulates in the body over time, so its damage depends on how much has accumulated during your lifetime. Also, it can be difficult to discontinue something that you would never suspect was bothering you and that is why I’m writing this post.
What Does Fluoride Research Show
Fluoride not only gets stored in bone but it apparently weakens it as well. The Journal of the American Medical Association published several articles in the early 1990s showing in increased rate of hip fractures that correlated to fluoridated drinking water.
In the same time period the New England Journal of Medicine also showed bones to be more fragile in addition to the above mentioned fracture association. Research by Procter and Gamble showed that even 50% of the fluoride found in drinking water was enough to increase genetic damage.
Cancer deaths numbering in the tens of thousands were reported as linked to fluoride by the National Cancer Institute. It has been confirmed by laboratory testing that fluoride has the ability to transform normal cells into cancer cells.
The Department of Health in New Jersey found in increased incidence of a type of bone cancer to much more prevalent in young men exposed to fluoridated water as compared to those who were not. Fluoride can cause fluorosis in children resulting in spots that are white, yellow or brown. A 1993 National Research Council committee finding that specifically studied fluoride effects, stated that anywhere from 8% to 80% of children living in fluoridated drinking water areas have dental fluorosis. It turns out that the more poor the diet, the more likely the child will suffer.
What About Tooth Decay? Read on!
And finally, in a “let’s make us feel really silly for accepting this public relations hoax”, fluoride is NOT EVEN EFFECTIVE IN REDUCING TOOTH DECAY!
In a very large study for the US Public health Service, dental records of almost 40,000 school children aged 5 to 17 from over 80 areas around the US showed that the incidence of decay, missing and filled teeth per child was virtually the same in fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas. This data was corroborated by a Chief Dental Officer from New Zealand who similarly studied 60,000 teenagers and found that fluoride had no significant effect on the rate of tooth decay.
How To Avoid Fluoride
Here are some tips on avoiding fluoride:
1. Do not give you children fluoridated vitamins
2. Say “No Thank You” to fluoride treatments at the dentist and feel free to show them this article.
And if you suffer from gluten intolerance, while you're saying "no thank you" to the fluoride, request gluten-free tooth cleaning polish from the hygienist. Otherwise you'll be getting gluten contamination as most cleaning polishes contain it.
3. Do not buy fluoridated toothpaste.
Note: Read the directions and warnings on your toothpaste tube. It actually warns against swallowing the product and cautions that if a child ingests it, it could be serious.
Further the amount recommended to use is a pea size. Otherwise you could be consuming dangerous amounts of fluoride. But in the TV commercials they show a half inch thick of toothpaste across the entire length of the toothbrush. That's correct. There’s likely close to a month’s dose of toothpaste on the brushes of most Americans!
4. Do not purchase fluoridated dental floss
5. Find a non-fluoride mouth wash, if you use one.
And, for good measure, find a toothbrush that has soft nylon bristles that does not contain BPA. That’s another toxin for another post but as long as we’re on the topic of dental hygiene I thought that I’d mention it. Please take this to heart.
In the area of clinical nutrition, we know that much of the increase in autism and autoimmune diseases, not to mention heart disease, stroke and cancer is associated with the increased toxic load on our bodies. We all brush our teeth at least twice per day (at least you should). Doesn’t it make sense that it should be a “good for you” moment and not one that is actually harming your health?
Let me know any questions that you have. HealthNOW is a destination clinic and we treat patients from across the country as well as internationally. We are here to help you, your friends and family.
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To your health,Dr. Vikki Petersen
IFM Certified Practitioner
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Author of "The Gluten Effect"
Author of eBook: "Gluten Intolerance – What You Don't Know May Be Killing You!"