Fluoride is a very common element found on planet Earth. It is pretty much found everywhere–rocks, water, soil–and makes its way into most foods and beverages. If you drink water and eat food, you are getting some fluoride into your body.
The concentration of naturally occurring fluoride compounds vary considerably from area to area. This is important as many studies that have suggested fluoride could be bad for you (problems such as bone fracturing or carcinogenic properties) were often based upon evidence from geographical areas where the fluoride concentrations were higher than average. (NOTE: These studies have suggested a link between fluoride and body problems, this has yet to be scientifically proven as a cause-effect relationship)
The important takeaway here is that fluoride is a naturally occurring element that is present in the environment and is in many of our foods and beverages. It is not some alien chemical that our bodies are not already exposed to. Granted that the exposure levels in nature are normally quite low, but it is not a foreign substance to our bodies.
Most all of the fluoride that we naturally ingest ends up in our bones and our teeth. At normal, low concentrations, there is no indication that it is harmful for you.
In higher concentrations, even when it is naturally occurring fluoride, there have been studies that point to physical problems such as early childhood development issues. One such study was conducted in a high-fluoride region of China and the results of that study did support the possibility of a negative impact between fluoride exposure and on a child’s neurodevelopment.
A known problem with fluoride, although cosmetic, is a condition called Fluorosis. This condition creates uneven coloration in the teeth. It is caused by overexposure to fluoride during the earlier years of one’s life–the period during which the permanent teeth are forming.
Fluorosis results from an excessive exposure to fluoride. This can stem from natural sources (local water) as well as from the overuse of Fluoride dental products (such as routine swallowing of toothpaste rather than spitting it out).
Usually the discoloration is mild, streaks or spots of white, but in severe cases very yellow and even dark brown stains can form. Also, deep pits and surface irregularities can form from the excessive fluoride exposure (It is estimated that one-third of American children suffer from some degree of Fluorosis).
On the plus side, those with Fluorosis also tend to be more cavity resistant. This “side effect” was what first led researchers to think that adding fluoride to the water supply (at low levels) would help prevent cavities. In fact, it was the observation of heavily stained teeth in residents of Colorado Springs (the water had naturally high levels of fluoride) that led to the discovery that these individuals had unusually low rates of dental decay. So, the so called “Colorado Brown Stain” is what put us on the path to adding Fluoride to our water!
At the end of the day, there has yet to be accepted scientific proof to claims that the proper use of fluoride toothpaste, or dental products, might lead or be related to any serious physical or mental problems.
But whether or not is should be added to our drinking water is valid issue to question. For the prevention of cavities, the best proven method of application is directly to the teeth. Adding it to the water supply obviously does not do that.
And, although studies do not yet prove the claims of fluoride danger, they also do not prove or support that the ongoing addition of fluoride is safe either.
The fact is that the majority of the world does not add fluoride to their drinking water. For some, it is a question of safety and for many others it is an issue of the right to choose how and when to treat one’s teeth. It is a personal decision that one should be able to make for oneself and for one’s family.
To best help you to decide as to whether or not to use fluoride you should also understand just how fluoride works to prevent cavities. This is explained in another blog on our website: how fluoride works to prevent cavities.
After reading that blog we will share why we actually recommend NOT to use fluoride but to use another safer and natural method to accomplish the same (if not better) cavity protection.