Fluoride Q & A

Q: Should a fluoride toothpaste and mouth-rinse be used daily to help prevent cavities?

A: Flouride is recommended by the dental profession in North America as a way to strengthen the hardness of tooth enamel to prevent tooth decay. It is in most if not all commercially sold toothpastes and in some mouthrinses. When applied topically this strategy helps to a point. When there is too much fluoride intake, this can actually lead to a weakening of enamel and a white or yellow or brown discolouration called dental fluorosis. This is actually a sign that toxic levels have been reached. Because our teeth and bones are the areas that absorb calcium and fluoride the most, too much fluoride can also be absorbed into our bones leading to osteoporosis. Studies have shown that our bones become brittle because the tensile strength and elasticity are reduced.

Many children over the past couple of generations have been subjected to too much fluoride which has led to discoloured teeth and required cosmetic dental treatment to cover up the damage. Because the drinks we buy in the store are made with municipal water which has had fluoride added to it, children often get much more fluoride than the estimated amount in drinking tap water alone. Studies have shown that there is a correlation between dental fluorosis and lower IQ in children.

Fluoride is actually listed in the Merck Manual and in any toxicology reference textbook as a lethal poison. It is used extensively as an insecticide and rodenticide (rat poison). There is enough in a tube of commercial toothpaste to kill a 20 pound or 10kg child. When used in our mouth it is absorbed by our mucosa into our bodies. It acts as an enzyme inhibitor that stops cellular functioning. It breaks down collagen, the main protein in skin, tendon, cartilage, bone, connective tissue and teeth. It disrupts our immune system by slowing down our white blood cells and making them less effective at destroying invaders. The essential DNA repair enzyme is inhibited by 50%, leading to chromosomal damage.

Why is a known poison allowed in our drinking water and toothpastes? It is a waste product of the aluminum and fertilizer industries and a multi-million dollar industry. North America is the only place in the whole world where fluoride is dumped into the drinking water instead of the hazardous waste disposal. When a senior toxicologist with the US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) publicly denounced fluoride in 1990, he was promptly fired and sued. He revealed a cover up of higher rates of cancer, birth defects, osteoporosis and hip fractures in areas where water is fluoridated. EPA was ordered to re-instate him with back pay, legal expenses and damages. It was determined that EPA had shredded evidence and threatened employees wanting to testify on his behalf.

If fluoride has so many side effects, what else can be used to combat cavities and gum disease? In health stores and naturopathic, chiropractic and homeopathic offices, many natural ingredient based toothpastes without fluoride are available. They often contain ingredients to help remineralize our enamel and nourish our gums so they stay healthy. Daily flossing or irrigation will clean areas between our teeth that our toothbrush doesn’t reach. Our grandparent’s generation used salt and baking soda which are great disinfectants and gentle abrasives to remove stains. Avoid using mouthwashes with artificial colours and dyes and alcohol and instead choose natural-based ingredients. Nutrients such as high doses of Vitamin C and CoEnzyme Q10 are proven to promote healthy gums. A good multi-Vitamin-Mineral complex is also helpful. Your holistic health practitioner can advise you about how to use tissue mineral salts and homeopathic remedies. Keeping our diet more alkaline will reduce the level of acid in our mouth. For infants nursing with breast milk or formula, ensure that the teeth are wiped with a wet washcloth after each feeding, especially at night.

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Holistic Dentistry is a contemporary approach to dental treatment; examining the relationship between your oral health and the rest of your body, focusing on overall harmony - not just your teeth! Preventive care and good dental hygiene are major components in holistic dentistry. Continue reading >>