Brittle Bones and fluoride? Is it the water? When I was growing up in the 1950s, the government added fluoride to our drinking water. That was supposed to be the end of tooth decay.
But when I was 8 years old my dentist told me I had more cavities than teeth! So I guess the fluoride didn’t work for me.
But I’m not alone. A National Institute of Dental Research study of 39,000 U.S. school children found 1 part-per-million (ppm) of fluoride in the water supply increased tooth decay 5.4%.[i] A study of 400,000 Chinese students showed it increased tooth decay by 27%.[ii]
Besides making cavities worse, fluoride permanently stains teeth. In 25% of children it causes dental fluorosis – brown or yellow teeth mottled with white spots.
Bones and teeth have a lot in common. Half of the fluoride you take in gets excreted by your body. The other half goes into your bones and teeth.
As fluoride builds up in your bones, it can lead to skeletal fluorosis. That’s a debilitating condition making bones extremely weak and brittle.
Population studies show high fluoride exposure increases the risk of bone fractures, especially in the elderly and diabetics. One study found female skeletons with the highest fluoride content had the most severe osteoporosis.[iii]
You see, fluoride stimulates bone-building osteoblasts. They’re the cells that make new bone. But it also disrupts enzymes that produce collagen, the structural protein you need to build strong flexible bones. The result is more bone volume but less bone strength.
What can you do to reduce your exposure to fluoride?
1. Don’t Use Fluoride Toothpaste.
The FDA requires all fluoride toothpastes to carry the following label: "WARNING: Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age. If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately."
Switch to fluoride-free toothpaste. I use Young Living’s toothpaste. It contains the essential oil blend called Thieves. Tom’s of Maine, Natures’ Gate and Burt’s Bees also make good natural products.
2. Filter Your Water.
Check with your local water company to find out if your water is fluoridated. Over 65% of the U.S. public water supply is.
It’s very difficult to remove fluoride from water. Your Brita or Pur carbon system won’t do it. A reverse osmosis filtration system will remove about 90%. You’ll have to consult with a professional to get the best system for your house.
3. Check Your Bottled Water
It’s estimated that 40% of bottled water comes right from the tap. You can call the supplier’s number printed on your water bottle’s label to find out how much fluoride it contains. The company should have the information readily available.
Fluoride should definitely be not more than .2 ppm. Less is better and zero is ideal.
4. Buy Organic Produce
Fluoride is a major ingredient in pesticides. That’s why some produce contains fluoride. Iceberg lettuce, citrus fruits, potatoes, grapes and raisins have very high levels. Buy only organic versions of these foods to minimize your exposure.
Is your water fluoridated? How do you minimize your exposure? Leave a comment and let me know other ideas you have for avoiding fluoride.
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From my delicious bones to yours,
[i] Yiamouyannis, J - "Water fluoridation and tooth decay: Results from the 1986-1987 national survey of U.S. school children" Fluoride 23:55-67 (1990).
[ii] Teotia SPS, Teotia M -"Dental Caries: A Disorder of High Fluoride And Low Dietary Calcium Interactions (30 years of Personal Research), Fluoride, 1994 27:59-66 (1994)
[iii] Alhava EM, Olkkonen H, Kauranen P, Kari T. 1980. The effect of drinking water fluoridation on the fluoride content, strength and mineral density of human bone. Acta Orthop Scand. 51: 413-420. [ Abstract ]