Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Debate Over Fluoridated Water - My Side

 From my research and real life experience, I have come to believe that fluoridated water is of no use to the human population. You won't really hear this from a dentist but if you dig deeper and get to the bottom of it all, you will see there is no need to ingest this chemical. However, if you are drinking municipal tap water then most likely you are ingesting plenty of fluoride. In the US almost all 50 states have adopted the practice of adding fluoride to the water supply.  In Europe, 97% of all municipal water is fluoride FREE. I wonder why? Oh and don't say that Europeans teeth are all terrible because of a lack of fluoride, because that is not true. It may be a lack of good dental hygiene but certainly not fluoride. Plus, that is a blanket stereotype which I consider unjustified.

Anyway, I found this great list of reasons as to why fluoride is not only useless to us through ingestion but is also a toxic substance that could cause health problems.

Fluoride Action Network - 10 Facts about Fluoride

  1. 97% of Western Europe has chosen fluoride-free water - Thus, rather than mandating fluoride treatment for the whole population, Western Europe allows individuals the right to choose, or refuse, fluoride. 
  2. Fluoride is the only chemical added to drinking water for the purpose of medication (to prevent tooth decay) - All other treatment chemicals are added to treat the water (to improve the water's quality and safety - which fluoride does not do). 
  3. Fluoride has minimal benefit when swallowed - Benefits that accrue from the use of fluoride, come from the direct application of fluoride to the outside of teeth and not from ingestion. There is no need, therefore, to expose all other tissues to fluoride by swallowing it.
  4. Fluoridated water is no longer recommended for babies - In November of 2006, the American Dental Association advised that parents should avoid giving babies fluoridated water. Babies exposed to fluoride are at high risk of developing dental fluorosis - a permanent tooth defect caused by fluoride damaging the cells which form the teeth. Other tissues in the body may also be affected by early-life exposures to fluoride. According to a recent review published in the medical journal The Lancet, fluoride may damage the developing brain, causing learning deficits and other problems.
  5. There are better ways of delivering fluoride than adding it to waterfor those people who actually want it such as toothpaste and mouth rinses.
  6. Ingestion of fluoride has little benefit, but many risks - Whereas fluoride's benefits come from topical contact with teeth, its risks to health result from being swallowed.
  7. The industrial chemicals used to fluoridate water may present unique health risks not found with naturally-occurring fluoride complexes - The chemicals used to fluoridate drinking water are industrial waste products from the phosphate fertilizer industry. Of these chemicals, fluorosilicic acid (FSA) is the most widely used. FSA is a corrosive acid which has been linked to higher blood lead levels in children.
  8. Water fluoridation's benefits to teeth have been exaggerated - While proponents still believe in its effectiveness, a growing number of studies strongly question this assessment. According to a systematic review published by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, "The magnitude of [fluoridation's] effect is not large in absolute terms, is often not statistically significant and may not be of clinical significance."
  9. Fluoridation poses added burden and risk to low-income communities - Low-income families are least able to avoid fluoridated water. Due to the high costs of buying bottled water or expensive water filters, low-income households will be least able to avoid fluoride once it's added to the water. As a result, low-income families will be least capable of following ADA's recommendation that infants should not receive fluoridated water. 
  10. Due to other fluoride sources, many people are being over-exposed to fluoride - Unlike when water fluoridation first began, Americans are now receiving fluoride from many other sources besides the water supply.
Based on these 10 facts, I will stick to spot fluoride treatment at my dentist's office. I also do not use fluoridated toothpaste either. Some of the brands I currently use are: Nature's Gate & Kiss My Face. They both do not contain any fluoride. I have not had any more cavities than the average person and the ones I do have are most likely because I slacked on my dental cleanings and not because I wasn't drinking the tap water. For my kids right now I use only non-fluoridated toothpaste. I wonder though, why all the training toothpastes are non-fluoridated? If they dont' want kids to swallow the fluoride then it MUST NOT be healthy for you in high concentrations! I also believe in the cumulative effect toxins can have on our bodies even when we ingest small amounts over time. Fluoridated water is such a threat. The fluoride levels are low but over time (such as a lifetime) the effects can be credible.

Go take this list to your dentist next time you go and have a frank discussion with him about all of this. I bet he/she will either dismiss the list entirely or give you a dissertation on the reasons why they think its so necessary. Remember, they are dentists and not scientists. I don't believe they really know the long term health effects of fluoride when ingested.