Fluoride has great clinical benefits for teeth. Scientists determined in the early 1900s that there was a link between communities with naturally occurring fluoride in the water supply and lower levels of tooth decay. That led to the widespread fluoridation of water. Any dentist will tell you that fluoride is beneficial for the teeth.
Now slow down. Just because I said fluoride was beneficial for teeth doesn’t mean it’s beneficial for you! I didn’t say fluoride was beneficial for the rest of the body. Fluoride is actually very harmful to the rest of the body.
Fluoride and the Body
Dentists only talk about teeth, but the body is just not one part. It is made up of many parts. Fluoride is extremely negative to the body overall and it’s not the only time science looks at the benefit of something clinically without looking at the overall negative effects. Take aspirin, for instance. Many people take an aspirin a day for heart attack prevention. Older Americans especially are taking daily aspirin thinking it will prevent a heart attack, but it comes with high risks such as increased risks for bleeding, stroke, and damage to the stomach. The body is like a Swiss Watch. Just because something can have clinical benefits for one part of the body doesn’t mean that it’s okay for the rest of the body.
Ever wonder why it says “call poison control if swallowed” on the side of your tube of toothpaste? It’s because ingesting fluoride can make you sick, poison you, or, in high enough amounts, potentially kill you. Now you would have to eat a lot of it for that to happen, but what happens if I smash your toe just a little every day? What happens over the course of 5-10 years? That toe is going to be in rough shape. The thing about fluoride in our water supply is it is added for the clinical benefit based on how much water the average person drinks. What if you drink more than average and what about all the other ways you are exposed to fluoride?
How is Fluoride Harmful?
Fluoride is slowly impacting us over long-term exposure. Fluoride has a negative impact on neurological development. We know in high levels it can cause neurotoxicity for adults and in rodents it leads to memory issues. Studies have linked it to low IQ and have demonstrated that it can impact the cognitive development of children. (1) (2) (3) Fluoride has been linked to thyroid problems as well. One study found that hypothyroidism was almost twice as likely in areas with fluoridated drinking water compared to those without fluoridation. (4) Fluoride has been linked to certain cancers like uterine, bladder, and osteosarcoma. (5) Research also shows that fluoride exhibits a toxic effect in the body when it interacts with aluminum, a heavy metal that contaminates much of our food supply. (6)
Fluoride is a toxic chemical, like lead or arsenic, and high toxicity can contribute to a variety of concerns like autism and ADHD. Remember: what happens if you smash your toe a little bit every day? Your toe will look worse and worse over time. In the same respect, you may be slowly poisoning yourself with fluoride.
Lower Your Exposure to Fluoride
- Upgrade your toothpaste to a non-fluoride option like Schmidt’s.
- Get a good water filter. A whole-house system is a great option. An activated carbon filter will not remove fluoride but there are still options for those who can’t invest in the whole-house system. A Berkey filter attachment can remove 95 percent of fluoride from your water.
- Find a natural dentist and make sure to pass on the fluoride treatments.
- Avoid Teflon and upgrade your cookware.
- Choose organic produce especially grapes, which are often treated with a fluoride pesticide called cryolite. Grapes regularly show up on the Dirty Dozen.
Avoid Fluoride’s Harmful Effects
So, is fluoride harmful or beneficial? If you are just looking at your teeth it might be considered beneficial. If you look at the body as a whole, or Swiss Watch, then you see that the risks are not worth the benefits.
Written by Dr. Patrick Flynn
For more information on the harmful effects of fluoride check out Dr. Patrick Flynn’s Quick Tip: