Top 10 Reasons to Oppose Water Fluoridation

Top 10 Reasons to Oppose Water Fluoridation

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10 Reasons to Oppose Water Fluoridation
©Maxim Blinkov/Shutterstock.com

Ever since communities started fluoridating their water, there have been people that are adamantly opposed to water fluoridation.

As you can see in the 1950’s era flyer to the right, some people even alleged that water fluoridation was some kind of communist plot to overthrow the American government.

Was Water Fluoridation a Communist Plot?Some of the arguments of anti-fluoridationists are very extreme and therefore seem like they are not based in truth.  I think that when people hear outlandish arguments alleging fluoride to be a giant conspiracy, they don’t take the anti-fluoridationists very seriously.  Because of this, I think that the many sound arguments against water fluoridation that do exist are never fully considered by the general population.

In the following article, I’ve attempted to consolidate ten of the best arguments against water fluoridation.  If you want to take a look at the opposing viewpoint, you can check out yesterday’s article, Top 10 Reasons to Support Water Fluoridation.

Top 10 Reasons to Oppose Water Fluoridation

Reasons to Oppose Water Fluoridation

1 – Water Fluoridation Is Associated with Dental Fluorosis

Dental fluorosis is a condition resulting from a child ingesting too much fluoride while the permanent teeth are developing.  In its mildest form, faint white specks can be seen on the teeth.  In more severe forms, the teeth can appear brown and mottled.

Dental fluorosis has been found to be more common in children that consume fluoridated water.  One source for this claim is this article published in the Journal of the American Dental Association in October of 2010.

Want to know more? Read this article about dental fluorosis.

2 – Water Fluoridation is a One-Size-Fits-All Approach

Water fluoridation assumes that every person needs the same amount of fluoride.  It also assumes that everyone drinks about one liter of water per day.  While those statements may sound great in theory, the truth is that people are varied and have different needs.

Not everybody needs the same amount of fluoride.  People with poor oral hygiene may benefit from more fluoride while those with perfect oral hygiene who brush with fluoride toothpaste and floss could easily have a clean bill of oral health without water fluoridation.

The ideal situation would be to have people talk with their dentist about how much fluoride they actually need.  That way the dentist can assist the parents by providing an accurate assessment of their child’s fluoride needs.

3 – Water Fluoridation Prescribes a Drug to Everyone

Fluoride is technically considered a drug, since it does alter the way the body works. When fluoride is added to the drinking water, everyone gets prescribed a drug regardless of their individual situation.  A doctor would never prescribe a drug without taking into account the medical history of a patient, so it is interesting that communities allow everyone to “be prescribed” fluoride by putting it in their water source.

4 – There Is No Informed Consent with Water Fluoridation

If people are going to be drinking fluoridated water, it seems logical that they should be aware of any risks and benefits. A main problem with water fluoridation is that many people don’t really know the main benefits and risks.  The main benefit of fluoride is in reducing tooth decay.  The main risk is getting dental fluorosis.

To illustrate an example of this, in the cover story of the October 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association, it recommended to not use fluoridated water to mix baby formula.  It states:

“If liquid concentrate or powdered infant formula is the primary source of nutrition, it can be mixed with water that is fluoride-free or contains low levels of fluoride to reduce the risk of fluorosis. These include water labeled as purified, demineralized, deionized or distilled, as well as reverse-osmosis filtered water. Many stores sell these types of drinking water for less than $1 per gallon.”

I highly doubt that very many parents even know that they aren’t supposed to be mixing infant formula with fluoridated water.  Even if they did, for some families it may be an excessive financial burden to continuously purchase reverse-osmosis filtered water for their baby.  Is it fair that a baby can’t even drink from the public water supply without endangering the appearance of their permanent teeth?

In light of this situation, the anti-fluoridation website Fluoride Action Network has started a petition to require water utility companies to add the following statement to all of their customers’ bills:

“Your public water supply is fluoridated. Fluoridated water should not be used or added to infant formula, foods, or drinks intended for babies 12 months of age or younger in order to avoid dental fluorosis.”

5 – Water Fluoridation is Mass Medication Without Choice

Many people believe that health matters are a personal choice and that they should not be forced to drink water that has been medicated with fluoride.

6 – The Water Supply Should Be Used for Delivering Water, Not Medicine

What if the gas company tried to sneak an additive into the gas supply that was touted to improve your health, but it also had some drawbacks?  Do you think that the utility companies should focus on delivering quality utilities or adding health-promoting chemicals to the utilities you consume? Many would argue that the same logic applies to water fluoridation and that people should be supplied with water and water alone.

7 – Water Fluoridation Takes Away Personal Responsibility

Water fluoridation is one example of the government trying to do things for the people.  It is a person’s responsibility to learn about the pros and cons of fluoride and then decide if they want to utilize fluoride in their oral health routine.  By allowing the government to make this choice for us, personal responsibility is diminished.

8 – Tooth Decay is Decreasing In Countries Without Water Fluoridation

The main reason that fluoride is added to water is to reduce cavities.  A recent article in the British Medical Journal contains a thought provoking graph that illustrates the downward trend in cavities over the past 40 years in 12 year-old children in Europe regardless of the fluoridation status of their country.

9 – Nobody Keeps Track of How Much Fluoride You Swallow

Let’s say you’re an avid jogger and you drink a LOT of water everyday.  Water fluoridation is based on the assumption that you’ll only drink around 1 liter of water per day.  What are you supposed to do if you’ve already had too much fluoride for the day and you’re thirsty?

Would you know if you’ve been ingesting too much fluoride?

On the other side of the spectrum, consider that the bottled beverage industry has grown explosively since water fluoridation began in 1945.  In 1945, most people drank tap water or beverages that were made from tap water.  With bottled beverages (such as water) so popular now, many people are not getting fluoride in the intended dose.

Learn how much fluoride is in bottled water.

Has fluoridating water become irrelevant?

10 – Where do you Draw the Line?

Ted Ferrioli, an Oregon state senator, has said that putting chemicals in the public’s drinking water takes away people’s choice and sets a bad precedent.  He states, “If I can fluoridate your water, where do I draw the line?”

I remember attending a dental public health lecture during my first year of dental school where the lecturer extolled the benefits of water fluoridation.  After the class, one of my friends went up and talked to her.  He asked her if she thought it would be a good idea to put other vitamins and minerals in the public water supply.  The lecturer replied that this was a topic that they have been researching.

Anti-Water Fluoridation Resources

If you want to learn more about the arguments against fluoridation, here are some of the sites dedicated to eliminating fluoride from the public water supply:

I don’t necessarily agree with everything contained in the sites in the four links above, but I thought it was important to include them to provide a balanced view of the water fluoridation issue.

What do You Think?

Are there any good anti-fluoridation arguments that I missed?  What are your views on water fluoridation?

I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below!

40 COMMENTS

  1. You state: “The ideal situation would be to have people talk with their dentist about how much fluoride they actually need. That way the dentist can assist the parents by providing an accurate assessment of their child’s fluoride needs.”

    I disagree. I don’t think you should give people the impression that, with the paucity of studies on hormonal and neurological impact of the enzyme interruptor fluoride, that any dentist has the proper qualifications to prescribe a systemic medication, for the purposes of influencing their oral health. Fluoride’s action is only by way of topical application. Swallowing fluoride makes as much sense as drinking sunscreen. And, would dentists also recommend swallowing condoms, for effective birth control?

    Thank you, Tom, for your informative, and fairly well reasoned material in this article, “Top 10 Reasons to oppose water fluoridation. I hope to drink a toast to you with non-fluoridated tap water one day. To Your Health!
    Pat

    • Hi Pat – Good analogy comparing fluoridated water to sunscreen, I hadn’t thought of that before. The theory is that by drinking the water, it contacts your teeth for a short period of time and helps prevent tooth decay.

      In the quote you mentioned from the article, I was trying to say that ideally, we could take the fluoride from the water and then have people sit down with their dentists to decide how much fluoride they need. This fluoride would be in the form of toothpaste, mouthrinse, and topical fluorides provided at the dental office. I didn’t mean to say that dentists should be having certain people drink water that is highly fluoridated while other people drink fluoride-free water. Hopefully that clarifies it, sorry for the misunderstanding!

      Thanks for the kind words, Pat. I usually drink fluoride-free water, so we can toast anytime. Ironically my dental school orders the big 10 gallon drums of spring water that contains hardly any fluoride at all 🙂

  2. Hi, Tom,
    First- when you graduate, please move to Portsmouth, New Hampshire! Your practice will thrive with many many locavores, organic small farmers, and just all-around nice people. I’m sure, of course, that you’ll find similar wherever you set up practice. By then, fluoridefreeportsmouth hopes to have gotten the F out of the water. I am in nearby Dover, (you’d be welcome here, but Port is hipper!) and in our city, they’ve called in the state dental group to go on record in the local paper and hastily put up a website this week to try to offset the ruckus I’ve been making along with a couple of other citizens. If you could call speaking at two City Council meetings and a few emails to the Council (with surprising replies!) a ruckus. I just believe it needs to be looked at, scientifically.

    As you may know, your dental school is not the only professional body serving F-free water, case in point: the EPA’s own union of scientists finally now have un-sullied unfluoridated water, although they had to sue for it!

    I am proud to make your acquaintance,
    and, thanks for your kind comment on my site.
    Pat
    p.s. This certainly doesn’t apply to you, but in case you missed this on Fluoride Action Network:

    The following extract is from one of the most active organizations regarding fluoride safety, the Fluoride Action Network.

    Fluoride Action Network Extract, (+links within text are numerous on original site):

    US Dentists “Unaware” of Recent Fluoride Research
    When water fluoridation was first introduced en masse in the 1950s, dentists argued that fluoride needed to be ingested by children — while their teeth are developing — in order to be effective. This argument, which also underpinned the introduction of fluoride drops and pills, was based on the belief that ingested fluoride would accumulate in developing teeth and make the “fluoride-enriched” teeth stronger for life. Over the past 30 years, however, this theory has been put to the test and almost unanimously rejected by dental researchers (Featherstone 2000; Fejerskov 2004). A new theory has taken its place: Fluoride’s primary benefits do not come from being swallowed, but come instead from being applied topically to the outside of the tooth while in the mouth.

    While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was late in coming to terms with this new paradigm on fluoride, it finally came on board in 1999. According to a 1999 report issued by the CDC, fluoride’s actions “primarily are topical for both adults and children.” CDC repeated this position again in 2001, stating: “fluoride’s predominant effect is posteruptive and topical.”

    The implications of this new consensus are as obvious as they are important: If fluoride has little benefit when swallowed, there is no need for a fluoride chemical to ever make it past the mouth and into the bloodstream. As noted by the recent Nobel Laureate in Medicine, Dr. Arvid Carlsson, “in pharmacology, if the effect is local, it’s awkward to use it in any other way than as a local treatment. I mean this is obvious. You have the teeth there, they’re available for you, why drink the stuff?”

    However, despite the fact that CDC is now on record stating fluoride’s benefits are primarily topical, a study published in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry reports that most practicing dentists and dental hygienists are not yet aware of this development. According to the study — which surveyed dentists and dental hygienists from Indiana and Illinois — only a small minority of dental professionals are aware of the new research. In Indiana, for example, only 25% of surveyed dentists correctly identified the topical effect of fluoride, while in Illinois, the respective figure was just 14%. According to the authors:
    “Our main findings are a) that in 2005, 4 years following the release of the CDC’s sentinel recommendations, a considerable proportion of dental professionals in Indiana still did not understand fluoride’s predominant mode of action.”
    Not only were the dentists behind in their knowledge of fluoride research, but the survey also found they didn’t even know basic information about fluoride, such as how much fluoride is in toothpaste or high-fluoride gels. As noted by the authors: “Another important finding was the inability of respondents to correctly identify the concentration of commonly used fluoride products.”

    This raises the question: If, after 60 years of water fluoridation, most dentists still don’t know how fluoride actually works, or how much fluoride is in the products they prescribe, what else do they not know? Do they know how fluoride affects other tissues in the body besides the teeth?

    REFERENCE:

    7) Yoder KM, et al. (2007). Knowledge and use of fluoride among Indiana dental professionals. Journal of Public Health Dentistry 67(3):140-7.

    Sincerely, Pat
    Bioethics should not be an oxymoron.

    • Thanks for your comment, Pat! My dental school has really stressed to us that fluoride acts topically, not systemically. My dental school doesn’t really touch on the fact that water fluoridation is associated with fluorosis, they seem to gloss over it or blame it all on the toothpaste that kids swallow.

      By the way, I was actually thinking about your fluoride/sunscreen analogy yesterday and thought it may be be more accurate to say that it’s like putting sunscreen on your arms and then licking it off and swallowing it. Since the fluoride in water does come into contact with your teeth for a short period of time, I figured the analogy should include the sunscreen actually touching your skin for a bit.

      Just thought I’d throw that out there!

  3. Hi, Again- Tom are you registered to peer-review on Wikipedia? Here’s my little problem: On their entry for Fluorine, they are updating it by “peer-review”, accessible with the “Discussion” tab at the top. I’m *simply* a health care consumer, whereas, you are positioned as a professional, or soon to be.I think someone in your position, or a mentor of yours, might be able to help them fine tune for accuracy, and give them a more sound, valid citation than the one they are using.
    1) In their entry, I don’t agree that Fluoride has an all-round “well-established ROLE (emphasis mine) in the prevention of dental caries, as a general statement. I’d offer, for example, “as a topical application in the prevention of dental caries” instead.
    2) And, referencing the phrase”Despite its well-established role in the prevention of dental caries,[2]” While saying they are peer-reviewing, still they are citing a draft for review–this is poor work. The linked citation heading reads: “Draft for review and comments (Not for citation) (emphasis mine) Comprehensive overview paper: Essential nutrients in drinking-water
    By Manuel Olivares and Ricardo Uauy”
    3) And, speaking of this title, I’m not aware of Fluoride being rated as a nutrient. Got reference?

    Thanks for reading! Best, Pat

    • Hi Pat – I am not registered to peer review on Wikipedia. I had a bad experience several years ago when I created a Wikipedia page about a singer that I really liked, and Wikipedia deleted it saying that the singer wasn’t “notable” enough. Ever since then, I just haven’t had the same enthusiasm as I used to about editing on there… 🙂

      As far as fluoride’s “role” in caries prevention, that is the terminology that many scholarly papers use when describing fluoride, so I would assume that Wikipedia is justified in using that terminology. Here’s a list of some of those papers.

      Like you point out, it’s not the best practice to cite papers that are simply drafts. Sometimes Wikipedia does reference strange sources…

      As far as your last point, it says right in that article, “fluoride is not considered an essential mineral element for mammals” I’m not sure I’d call it a nutrient, as it’s not something that provides nourishment, which is how I would define the word “nutrient.”

      I hope that helps – let me know if that clarified anything for you. Thanks for your comment, Pat!

  4. Fluoride is “more toxic than lead, and only marginally less toxic than arsenic”, according to the textbook; Clinical Toxicology of Commercial Products, ISBN: 978-0683036329. Publisher; Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, MD, 5th edition, 1984.

    • Hi John – Thanks for your comment. I don’t think that enough people are aware that fluoride can cause problems if too much is ingested (for example, if a child eats a tube of toothpaste.) Interestingly, Vitamin A is more toxic than lead, fluoride, and arsenic.

      Pretty much anything is toxic if you have too much of it (except for OralAnswers.com!)

      Thanks for your comment, John.

  5. The board of the Santa Clara Valley Water District (in California) held a public meeting March 22nd on water fluoridation. This summer they are scheduled to vote on whether or not to fluoridate the water supply. The board and their staff were given 20 copies of a 75-minute cd of doctors explaining the history, origin, and health hazards of this toxic waste. Doctors included John Lee, John Yiamouyannis, and Phyllis Mullenix. The audio is posted at the website http://www.MaeBrussell.com. Just go to the bottom of the homepage.

    If people were to burn a cd of that audio and spread it around (especially to churches, schools, health food stores and health clubs) you might find it very effective in waking up the public in your area. Good luck.

    • Hi Tim – Thanks for the information. Before a decision is made, it’s good to be informed of both the benefits and the risks of water fluoridation. Hopefully the board will be able to make an informed decision that will be beneficial to all the residents of the Santa Clara Valley Water District.

      Thanks for your comment, Tim!

  6. (Tom, I use this user name on most online comments and posts, let me know if unacceptable to you- Pat Wulfson)

    The Oral Cavity Experts Lobby is well financed, originating by whom I cannot say. There were several Dental Lobbyists attending the fluoride study hearing I was at in Concord, NH, this January, and we are a very small state. They go to lunch with and give attention to the volunteer legislators, which must be most gratifying to these fairly regular people who have stepped forward to “better” their locality and state. I can see where the power to “Do stuff” can be a heady one for a volunteer legislator.
    But there needs to be science to back up these wishful Endorsements by ADA backed dentists. In sad contrast to our host here, Tom, few in dentistry are taking the time and effort to really research their State Dental Society’s urgings for them to Endorse, Endorse, Endorse. This is revealed with the repetitive wording they use, it is sort of creepy IMO. Like stealing term papers. I am following these cases, and it’s disappointingly evident, the true lack of initiative and individual effort shown by the Endorsing Dentist-Bots.

    Both the ADA and the EPA have published that they refuse to accept responsibility for any harm that the public incurs by ingesting the Experimental Unapproved neurotoxin fluorosilicic acid, (the “modern” way to fluoridate- your city will truthfully, however, list it as a Contaminant on the Water Quality Report, and it usually comes from industrial waste, From China.)
    I am grateful to Dr.Paul Connett, the author of “The Case Against Fluoride”, who travels to present the serious problems associated with ingesting a toxic substance, all in the name of Public Health, especially where this substance is admitted as being only TOPICALLY slightly effective. The neurotoxin’s already questionable usefulness loses ranking repeatedly, when new studies emerge.
    Dr.Connett is being seen as “ProFluoride’s Worst Nightmare”. That is a boon, though it again is sad that seeing the failure of the whole Humans-as-Filters-for-Waste-Material experiment, with its ensuing human environmental disaster hasn’t been of any interest to them. Here’s a link to Dr.Connett’s recent work: http://www.baybuzz.co.nz/archives/4680

    • Hi Pat – The name’s fine (the only one’s that bother me are when people will write things like “Chicago Illinois Dentist” as their name!)

      Dentists do get pretty involved in politics. The American Student Dental Association sponsors a dental lobby day each year at our dental school where they send many students to the state capital to discuss current legislation that will affect dentistry.

      From what I know, the ADA wants to have enough fluoride in the water to be able to act topically on the teeth for the few seconds that it’s in the mouth, but not so much that it causes any systemic effects. It’s kind of a fine balance.

      Out of curiosity, do you think naturally fluoridated water should be de-fluoridated, or is it mostly the fluorosilicic acid that you are against? Thanks for your comments, Pat!

      • Howdy Tom,
        Naturally fluoridated water is not what’s causing hip-fractures, bone cancer, heart disease, gingivitis, fluorosis, and fluoride accumulation in the brain. Most of the countries around the world have found it necessary to ban water fluoridation but don’t “de-fluoridate” any “naturally fluoridated water”. Please go to http://www.MaeBrussell.com (bottom of homepage) and listen to Dr. John Lee, Dr. John Yiamouyannis, and Dr. Phyllis Mullenix. You will never hear better information on fluoride than from them. Unlike the typical industry-sponsored propaganda, these doctors cite studies, data, and other statistics. Please make a cd of those 75-minutes of audio and spread it around. Maybe you can post the mp3 audio files at this website. Like you said: Before a decision is made, it’s good to be informed of both the benefits and the risks of water fluoridation.

        • Hi Tim – Thanks for the link, I will look into that information. Have you ever read either of these books:

          The Fluoride Wars: How a Modest Public Health Measure Became America’s Longest Running Political Melodrama

          The Fluoride Deception

          I did read the first one. I checked out the second one from the library, but it seemed to make some extraordinary claims in the opening pages that kind of turned me off to it and I never finished it. I’m curious if you think either one is worth reading if you’ve already read them. Thanks!

          • Hi Tom, no I haven’t read those books. The two I have are “Fluoride The Aging Factor” by Dr. John Yiamouyannis, and “The Secret War and the Fluoride Conspiracy” by Dr. Geoffrey E. Smith.

            There’s a wellknown book “The Rich and The Super Rich” by Ferdinand Lundberg which isn’t about fluoride but mentions that carbon from industries’ smoke stacks were used for making carbon paper. And in Morris A Bealle’s “The Drug Story” he points out that the Rockefellers took the leftover oil that they couldn’t use in anything else and marketed it as a medicine called Nujol. And on a local Sunday morning tv show I once saw a guy with different brands of suntan lotion and he pointed out that a few of them were made from recycled motor oil.

            On the surface fluoride seems to be the same type of scam, “hey let’s sell our leftover crap”, however, when you look into the products such as fluoride drops and pills you’ve gotta ask what is the real purpose. After all, giving kids a few pills of this poison can hardly make a dent in their thousands of tons of toxic waste they produce every day. It seems the real motive might be more sinister and sadistic.

            What do you think about Harold Hodge, in 1944, suggesting that they should try telling the public that fluoride is good for their teeth? (of course the phony-balony studies weren’t carried out until after that)
            http://www.MaeBrussell.com

          • (unable to respond to the April 13 comment for some reason, so I’ll post it here)

            Hi Tom,
            Harold Hodge was a part of the Manhattan Project in the 1940s and years later he worked with Dr. Phyllis Mullenix. She talks about him in the 20-minute talk on fluoride at http://www.MaeBrussell.com. In the 1940s while working on the Manhattan Project they discovered that fluorine was screwing up their workers, poisoning food, killing cattle, etc., and in a memo that was later declassified (April 1944) Hodge suggested that maybe they can alleviate the public’s fear by telling them its good for their teeth. Shortly after that we get the Grand Rapids, Michigan water fluoridation.

            As Dr. John Lee points out in the audio at MaeBrussell.com, through the Freedom of Information Act we now know how those early fluoridation studies were carried out. They would look out something like 300 communities (1/2 fluoridated, 1/2 not) and would find a variety of things, then would select out something like 22 communities to show that the fluoridated areas had fewer cavities. Many countries have looked into this and found that it does nothing to reduce cavities.

            I think the article on Water Fluoridation History is fake. It reminds me of the books and articles claiming Oswald shot JFK. Nowhere in the article does it mention that the fluoride dumped into the water is a toxic waste and the industries save billions selling it at a 20,000 percent markup. You really should listen to the audio at MaeBrussell.com. It would be great if you were to post the audio at one your main pages. This way many people can learn about the dangerous effects this waste product has on people.

          • Hi Tim – I did write that article on the history of water fluoridation after doing a lot of research. I assure you that it is not fake and that the oral health benefits of fluoride were discovered much earlier than 1944.

            I was unable to find the water fluoridation history article underneath the MP3 links at the MaeBrussel website.

            We may just have to agree to disagree on the history of water fluoridation 🙂

            I have talked about the types of fluoride (and whether they are toxic waste) in the article below:

            Is Water Really Fluoridated with Toxic Waste Fluoride?

            • Hi Tom, the Joel Griffiths article “Commie Plot or Capitalistic Ploy?” is right below the mp3 audio files at the bottom of the MaeBrussell.com homepage. I don’t see how you can miss it. But here it is:
              http://maebrussell.com/Fluoride/Fluoride%20-%20Commie%20Plot%20or%20Capitalist%20Ploy.html

              He has 78 references listed at the end. Also, much of the information parallels the information by Dr. John Lee, Dr. John Yiamouyannis, Dr. Phyllis Mullenix, and Joanie Greggains as posted right above the Griffiths article. Maybe you can give some specifics as to what you think is inaccurate with their information?

            • Thanks for pointing that out, Tim. I did see the Commie Plot article under the MP3’s, but I didn’t think that was a history of water fluoridation. I looked over it, and will spend some more time going through it. I do have a draft blog post that I need to finish up that addresses the issue of companies such as Alcoa selling their fluoride wastes for profit.

              Also, I noticed that in his article, Joel Griffiths talked a lot about how fluoride was toxic to livestock and the problem that fluoride air pollution was. Currently, fluoride air pollution is no longer the problem that it was 50 years ago. Some of this can be attributed to the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.

              Anyways, it looks like the point of that article was to scare people away from fluoride. However, whether or not large amounts of hydrogen fluoride gas are toxic really isn’t too relevant to whether or not adding a very small amount of fluoride to water to protect children against cavities is a good or bad idea. The small amounts of fluoride added to water aren’t hazardous to our health.

              Thanks for your continued comments on this subject, Tim.

  7. Hi, Tom, and Tim, and other readers- This response to Tom’s note to me comes some weeks after the questions were posed, sorry, but I just found a comment link in my Spam folder, and noted Tom, you wondered if I believed natural fluoride in overabundance caused problems, or simply the garbage most cities use. (I’m paraphrasing).

    If you set your Google Alert for “Fluoride”, you get at least one weekly notation (usually complaints of illness caused by it) of regions of India’s poisonous water supply, which has too much fluoride naturally. Fluoride is normally a gaseous element (check Wikipedia) that is very quick to bind to other elements, like sodium, hydrogen, and lead, among numerous compounds it forms. These can especially injure infants because they are neurologically immature and their blood/brain barrier is not fully formed, and their brain is exposed to the toxin AND it’s partner, i.e.lead.

    Tom, may I recommend you email toxicological questions to Roger D. Masters, PhD.,of Lebanon, NH, Dartmouth College Professor Emeritus? He’s done studies on fluoridation and its effects on violent crime, and is most helpful. I am hoping you’ve read The Case Against Fluoride: How Hazardous Waste Ended Up in Our Drinking Water and the Bad Science and Powerful Politics That Keep It There” by Paul Connett, PhD, James Beck, MD,PhD, and H.S.Micklem, DPhil.

    To answer your second question, “Do communities Un-fluoridate?”(paraphrasing again) Yes. A case in point: Plymouth, NH, has a municipal system to rid their abundance of the natural fluoride found in the local aquifers. They “de-fluoridate down” to the current acceptable level their town agrees upon.

    As a matter of ethics, I want the fluoridation issue to be out of any hands except an individual’s own MD. Fluoride is a drug, and mass distribution in public water supplies of it violates Informed Consent laws to dose entire populations with it, “one size fits all”. I have different dose needs for all sorts of meds, based on weight, stage of life, underlying health and somatic characteristics, and sensitivity to classes of medications. I may even be one of the 1% of individuals who are acutely sensitive to fluoride, and as such I claim my right to not be automatically medicated.

    And, in this chemically laced modern world, we need to know, we have every right to have the information on just how much of this neurotoxin, which effects the thyroid (a master gland regulating many systems) we are ingesting in a given day. Fluoride ingested only partially excretes, the rest settles in bones, making them brittle, joints, causing symptoms of arthritis, and it calcifies the pineal gland, impacting production and use of the good sleep hormone, melatonin.

    It would help to have all commercial food items labeled with fluorine content. The stages/layers of adding fluorine to what we eat include: 1) growing plants with fluorine pesticides is one layer, 2) Feeding cattle and other meat producing animals with fluorine dosed vegetable fodder, it binds to their bones: mechanically de-boned meat, e.g. Chicken nuggets, contain bone fragments which retain the fluorine. (also your large dog’s hind legs will tend to lose their strength, due to this bonemeal in the dogfood) 3) Bombing with fluorine pesticide fumigant in entire warehouses (grains, grain products, produce) and, 4) processing with locally fluoridated municipal water, e.g. soups and beverages either bottled/canned or prepared at a restaurant. A nice Micro-brew, of which Portsmouth has numerous, may be medicated. Somehow, that really seems especially nasty.
    Commercial wines–> fluorine pesticides…watering your “organic” garden with city water—>guess WHAT..?? Plants take up the fluorine from the water you give them. yum.

    We are exposed to much, much more fluoride than a well meaning group of dentists have ANY say over, and this reduces their qualification, already tenuous, for Endorsing fluoridation, to virtually nil. The science to support their crusade just isn’t there. What little there is, is buried under layers of fluoride exposure/applications.

    I just found out recently that Fairbanks, Alaska, and Calgary, Alberta, both have decided to discontinue water fluoridation. Hooray for them! The applications of pharmaceutical grade fluoride, directly upon tooth enamel have been the more effective of methods, although those are also experimental.
    “Drinking Fluoride is as useful as drinking Sunscreen.” –with that little added touch of poison.

    Thanks for reading, and thinking. Best, Pat

    • Hi Pat – Thanks for your comment. You do bring up some good, insightful points. Fluoride is not just in our water, it can come from many sources. As I mentioned in point #9 above, there really isn’t anyone keeping track of how much fluoride you consume.

      Thanks for your comment!

  8. I am a dental hygienist in NJ. I primarily work in a pediatric office. So many children have some degree of fluorisis that come into the office. And the doctor keeps them on fluoride vitamins until 14 years old! Even if there is fluoride in the water the dr. looks up the town and adjusts the vitamin dosage so they get the correct full recommended amount. Some have fluorisis to such a severe degree, with serious mottling that the teeth need to be restored! I can only imagine what it has done to the rest of their body. I have pointed it out and ask the dentist why would you continue to prescibe when a child has fluorosis? The dr. tells me and the parent that the reason for the fluorosis is not the vitamins it is because the child swallows toothpaste and eats canned or pre-packed foods from other parts of the world packed in fluoridated water that caused the problem, not the vitamins.

    The Dr. gets very aggravated if I question so I try to not say anything. My problem is when a parents asks me my opinion on the subject I am only to say the doctor recommends the vitamins. So I smile so I can keep my job.

    Even the hygiene school I went to thinks I am crazy to think fluoride could be a bad thing. I don’t have issues with topical fluoride, but why doesn’t anyone in the dental profession see my point. I feel like I am some type of sacriligious dental professional! I am afraid of banishment!

    Thanks!

    • Hi Marie,
      Glad to hear you still have your job. Maybe you can direct parents, or even your hygiene school, to the bottom of the website http://www.MaeBrussell.com. There are about 75 minutes of audio by real experts on the subject. The audio fits perfectly on a regular audio cd. Maybe you can burn some cds and pass them out without giving much of your personal opinion??
      Good luck,
      Tim

      • Hi Tim – Any chance of that audio getting transcribed? It’s much more feasible for me to read than listen. I have read a lot about fluoride, and it appears that there would be a strong anti-fluoride bias on that site.

        I’ve tried to take both sides of the fluoride debate and form a fairly objective opinion of water fluoridation. Thanks for your comment!

    • Hi Marie – Thanks for your comment! The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s Guidelines on Fluoride state that the dentist should take into account all sources of fluoride as well as the child’s risk for getting cavities. I interpret this to mean that if a child has never had a cavity and appears to have good oral hygiene, then that child shouldn’t get fluoride drops/pills no matter how much fluoride is in their drinking water.

      As for determining the reason for fluorosis, it’s hard to pinpoint one source of fluoride as the reason that a child has fluorosis. The development of fluorosis depends on how much fluoride is ingested over a period of time. The magic number of how much fluoride it takes to cause fluorosis is different for everyone.

      I feel like I’m in the same position you are in, although after talking about this issue at my dental school a little bit, I think there are a few faculty members that aren’t exactly in favor of water fluoridation. Everyone seems to be in favor of topical fluoride because they understand that fluoride works topically, not systemically.

      Hopefully we don’t get banished! I wouldn’t call it sacrilege… More like taking the time to try to help your patients, which is a great thing.

      Thanks for your comment, Marie!

      • Tom, I got the same impression from my pediatrician as Marie did from the dentist. At about a year old my son was prescribed a fluoride supplement, even though I insisted I didn’t want it. I told the doctor that we lived in town and felt quite sure our water was already fluoridated, and I brushed his baby teeth regularly. (After looking at your maps its obvious too, I lived in MI.) The doctor insisted that “oh, just in case”. Of course I didnt pick up the prescription (although I had medicaid at the time), I was at that time mildly informed of the case against fluoride.
        I have a question that perhaps you may answer. Do dentists and doctors receive some financial incentive for each prescription they fill out, whether its filled or not?
        Also, I appreciate your neutral approach to the subject, but I gather from all this reading that perhaps you realize that this is a “no dah” issue but are afraid to jump in among the radicals because those are the people nobody take serious. What say you?

        p.s. I’m not a radical, I’m just a mother with a big responsibility. No time to straddle the fence.

  9. Hey Tom,

    Just letting you know, almost all bottled water that’s intended for drinking contains fluoride (i.e. Poland Springs). DI water does not, but DI water isn’t intended for drinking. Any ready made drink like soda, soft drinks, or juice with added water also almost always contains fluoride because tap water is used. It’s quite hard to avoid. Actually anything with “water” as an ingredient that’s made in this country probably has fluoride.

    • Hi Tom,

      I just found your website today (looking for something completely unrelated to fluoridation) and happened upon your articles on water fluoridation. For of all, thank you for your research and trying to present a balanced view. I usually only read of people arguing strongly for or against it. I think it’s a worthy effort to try to understand the pros and cons.

      I grew up in a non-fluoridated country in Europe, have lived in the US now for 15 years, and had no clue about water fluoridation until last year, when my son was born. I’m usually well informed, and it took me many hours of reading to get a sufficient understanding of this issue. This is why I am so puzzled that fluoride is added to the water supply without sufficiently educating the public about it. I believe it is now well understood that children should limit their fluoride intake from water, especially the very young, yet I don’t see proactive efforts of communities or the government to inform parents about this.

      The problem is, even if someone were to make an effort or choice to avoid fluoridated water for their children, there are numerous ways to trip up. Some may feel more comfortable if they use a fridge/faucet filter, not realizing it does not remove fluoride. Some may seek out bottled water in the baby isle which is marketed for mixing with formula, only to find the “Nursery” brand which is fluoridated.

      It shouldn’t be this way for parents, who already have enough to worry about besides fluorosis. Rather, as a public health policy it would make sense to make it “easy” for parents to avoid fluoride for their infant children, rather than the other way around. Shouldn’t there be warnings on infant formula? Shouldn’t fluoridated water brands have a warning not to use under 1 year of age? Shouldn’t the same warning be included with water bills?

      I can say with confidence that only through a lot of efforts, my son has not had a single drop of “optimally” fluoridated water yet since he was born. This includes mixing his food only with bottled water of certain brands, when before I never bought bottled water in my life (my wife and I still drink the fluoridated water from the tap). Nature has helped us tremendously too along the way (breast milk is very low in fluoride).

      However, I don’t know if I can feasibly keep up the “bottled water only” policy for my son over the coming years, while his teeth are still forming. The plastic bottles are also very wasteful. I’d rather he be able to drink tap water, like I did all my life.

      To that end, I want to try to convince the community I now live in to stop fluoridating (ironically, they only started fluoridating in 2007, two years before I moved there). It’s an above-average income suburban area and I can’t imagine anyone there who does not already have ready access to fluoride in various forms (there’s always Nursery water sold in the local supermarket!). Any ideas how I might go about this the best way? We have several smaller communities around us (Texas) that have recently stopped fluoridating.

      Thanks in advance for your input!

  10. Hey, Tom, and Cindy- I emailed Poland Springs, and they sent their data for natural F in their spring water. It is low, and sometimes zero (if they are to be believed). I also discovered that Worcester, Massachusetts does NOT fluoridate, then I emailed the beverage bottler there, a regional company called Polar. They sell a wide range of soda and seltzer, none of which is ideal for health, but as an occasional treat, we indulge. Their amount of natural F was zero- to very low, according to them and also to the City’s Water Quality report.
    I note that in a couple of cities in the U.S.,some folks are suing their municipalities for incorrect use of medication, e.g. fluorosilicic acid. This makes sense. Even moreso- if Poland Springs continues to sell their fluoridated “kids'” water, they should be sued, IMO, as should be the company which sells “Nursery Water”- an abomination if ever there was one. Drugs in the water, when not approved nor proven. Nor safe.
    Suffolk County, Long Island, NY also does not fluoridate. There is at least one brewer on the east end that should have untainted brew, fyi. Some interesting doings at Fluoride Alert- check it out. http://www.fluoridealert.org Tom- hope you re having a good summer. Portsmouth, NH still could use you! Best, Pat

  11. Hi, Tom- Looking forward to your further sharing, as I really appreciate my dentist (tho have been shy/chicken about asking him about his stance on F in the water. Having lost insurance this spring, we haven’t seen him recently.sigh.)
    An interesting development in my personal water intake- down significantly, due to a new eating plan called Nutritarian, Dr.Joel Fuhrman’s “Eat to Live” bestseller/ PBS special inspired. Huge veggie intake brings loads of (mostly organic) plant derived water, while less fat/animal protein create reduced thirst. My digestion is the most comfortable ever. I never knew that romaine lettuce, per 100 calories, has MORE protein than steak! Fuhrman explains about how the body removes toxins between meals, and if one is loaded with them, the between meals discomfort of that process can induce more eating. Nasty cycle. Orally- my saliva has noticeably increased, good news for comfort and health. Weight down 10% since early June. (3 mos).
    This was a great reaffirmation of my long time view as to the uselessness of the typical “modern American Diet”. Finally, Fuhrman offers healthy alternatives to the processed crap foisted by the govt. He has a blog called Disease Free, and his main website, http://www.drfuhrman.com
    My daughter has approached this knowledge from the beauty aspect, following Kimberly Snyder, a nutritionist. She has a new book out, and is on fb, and I note she references Fuhrman in her footnotes. As you know, it’s all connected, oral health and general health. Wishing you and your readers well, Pat

    • Hi Pat – Thanks for sharing. It does seem like we were made to eat mostly plants. Cutting down on meat and dairy can also decrease your risk of oral cancer – you can click that link to read about it.

      I would agree that eating healthier can have a positive impact on all areas of your health, not just oral health. Good luck with the diet, Pat!

      • Thanks, only I won’t call it a “diet” in the conventional sense. A philosophy and a nutritive style. Vegans can and often do eat all sorts of processed “food” that tries to mimic poorly designed “mainstream” processed food. Nutritarians insist that there’s FOOD in their food. I’ve been waiting for this plan my whole life. Better late than never!
        Best, Pat
        p.s. “The Beauty Detox Solution” by Kimberly Snyder uses very very similar nutrient styling, and is designed to appeal to the young, hip, crowd. I got a copy to see how they compare. P.

  12. Tom,

    I highly appreciate your neutral perspective. I wonder if you could shed some light on the following:

    1. Given that fluoride appears naturally in water sources to varying degrees, and ignoring for the moment the specific method of artificial fluoridation (e.g. fluorosilicic acid), the principle of adjusting a municipal water supply to an optimal level of fluoride does not seem to depend upon whether that level is zero or nonzero. (Either way people are almost certainly drinking water of a different fluoride level than they would naturally.) This is becoming my attitude, and i wonder if it seems reasonable to you.

    2. You mentioned in an earlier comment that the purported topical benefit of fluoridation is through swishing water around in our mouths. The ADA “Fluoride Facts” booklet also suggests “systemic” benefits due to the presence of ingested fluoride throughout the body, particularly in saliva. (They cite a (text?)book that i can’t access online.) Proper brushing of teeth appears to be a stronger determining factor of caries than the fluoridation of water, but i wonder if this is because the topical effects of fluoride are stronger than the systemic effects or because toothpaste is far richer in fluoride than water.

    I would appreciate any insight.

    Cory

  13. Sorry that I posted my previous comment in the middle of the comment section!

    Tom, I saw a video of a debate between “pro” and “con” fluoridation in front of the Austin, Texas city council and one of the supporters of fluoridation made an interesting comment. When confronted with the data that caries incidence has been reducing in Europe over time without water fluoridation, he said something to the effect “well, we don’t have socialized medicine here.”

    Is this perhaps what has been driving the US to water fluoridation over time? That health care is privatized and generally more expensive than elsewhere, and this is the only cost effective way to reduce cavities here?

  14. I was introduced to a once seriously pro Fluoride medic` Dr John Colquhoun in Mt Eden Auckland NZ who stated with greif and also burdened with a bad cancer prognosis.” I fought for years to get Fluoride into our water supply and now realise I made a terrible mistake.” He died of cancer shortly after. Thanks for the `topical use `comments as I have been on roof water when practically possible ever since that man saying he fought to get it out of our water but they wont listen now. And if you try to search out :Read the rest of the remarkable true story,
    “WHY I CHANGED MY MIND ABOUT WATER FLUORIDATION” It appears to be blocked access. ! ?
    Mind you electrical misadventures can be more deadly .:Electrocuted to death in my early 30s but WONDERFULLY the WORDS: * I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE* apearred in my corpses chest as if Flames and drew me back into my body and my 4 children under 5 years old. *JESUS* IS * LORD*. says this thankful ex atheist.only recently become christian at that time (not catholic) and truly born again,ready for Heaven.Proverbs 8:30,31 KJV

  15. I was introduced to a once seriously pro Fluoride medic` Dr John Colquhoun in Mt Eden Auckland NZ who stated with greif and also burdened with a bad cancer prognosis.” I fought for years to get Fluoride into our water supply and now realise I made a terrible mistake.” He died of cancer shortly after. Thanks for the `topical use `comments as I have been on roof water when practically possible ever since that man saying he fought to get it out of our water but they wont listen now. And if you try to search out :Read the rest of John`s :The remarkable true story,
    “WHY I CHANGED MY MIND ABOUT WATER FLUORIDATION” It appears to be blocked access. ! ?
    Mind you electrical misadventures can be more deadly .:Electrocuted to death in my early 30s but WONDERFULLY the WORDS: * I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE* apearred in my corpses chest as if Flames and drew me back into my body and my 4 children under 5 years old. *JESUS* IS * LORD*. says this thankful ex atheist.only recently become christian at that time (not catholic) and truly born again,ready for Heaven.Proverbs 8:30,31 KJV

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