Chances are the tap water in your household is fluoridated, just like most toothpaste on the market. We’ve been told for years that fluoride is necessary for good oral health, but is that really the case?
History of Fluoride
Water fluoridation began in 1945 with claims that it decreased dental cavities in children by up to 60%. However, these findings have been criticized for flaws related to data cherry-picking and selection bias. Before the final results of the studies were in, U.S. Public Health Service began advocating for widespread fluoridation of the water supply. This led to at least 30 nations implementing widespread water fluoridation. However, today only 5% of the world’s population consumes fluoridated water. Most Western countries don’t fluoridate their water and yet tooth decay rates have declined at the same rate as the U.S. and other fluoridated countries.
In 2015, for the first time in 50 years, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services lowered the recommended level of fluoride in drinking water to 0.7 milligrams, from a previous range of 0.7 – 1.2mg. Officials say more and more Americans are exposed to too much fluoride and suffer from fluorosis (a defect of tooth enamel).
Fluoride is a neurotoxin, a chemical known to damage the developing brain. Developmental neurotoxins are capable of causing brain disorders such as autism, ADHD and other cognitive impairments.
Fluorosis is caused by too much fluoride in the first 8 years of life. According to data collected from the CDC in 2011-2012, 57% of children ages 6-19 had fluorosis, with 21% displaying moderate fluorosis on at least 2 teeth. This is a 37% increase from 1999-2004 data.
Some studies have shown that children with moderate fluorosis have increased rates of cavities. Fluoride not only accumulates in the teeth but also in the bones, pineal gland and arteries.
Over-exposure to fluoride can cause many other health problems including kidney toxicity, gastrointestinal problems, skeletal fluorosis and thyroid function.
So, how can you reduce fluoride exposure for you and your family while also maintaining good oral hygiene?
- Avoid drinking fluoridated tap water. Water filters like Brita and Pur do not remove fluoride. It’s important to use reverse osmosis, deionizers or activated alumina filters. Another alternative is spring water with fluoride levels lower than 0.2 parts per million.
- Switch to a non-fluoride toothpaste. This is especially important for young children. Research has shown that it’s not uncommon for young children to swallow more fluoride from toothpaste alone than is recommended as an entire day’s ingestion from all sources.
- Avoid sugary foods and drinks. Bacteria feed off sugar and cause tooth decay.
- Be consistent and thorough when brushing!
Looking for more information? Check out our video on fluoride: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKsdEqpcnv0&t=3s