Fluoride. Good or Bad for you?
Over the last 6 decades or so, fluoride has been added routinely to municipal water supplies, throughout the United States, to increase the prevention of tooth decay. While fluoridation of water was considered to be an essential aspect of maintaining public health and was generally believed to be a beneficial additive when the practice started, scientific research over the last 20 years has shown that this process may actually be detrimental to human health.
The Fluoridation of Water Supplies, a brief History:
The process was endorsed as far back as 1951 by the American Medical Association and in 1953 by the American Dental Association. Adding fluoride to municipal water supplies was all the rage and it was assumed that it protected the tooth enamel and could provide increased bone density. However, research conducted by Limeback & Hardy in 1993and Phipps & Burt in 1990 found that fluoride can actually weaken bones and cause a teeth staining effect called fluorosis.
The Argument for Fluoride:
Fluoride is not only still added to municipal water supplies, it can be found in most dental products such as toothpaste and mouthwash. Fluoride proponents argue that fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral, which is needed to prevent the demineralization of the tooth enamel. The hypothesis is that minerals are depleted over the years from the external tooth enamel layer. This is due to acids (mainly from sugars and plaque bacteria) attacking the dental enamel. Advocates believe that fluoride in the water ensures that people, vulnerable to enamel damage such as children, will have sufficient minerals to prevent tooth decay.
Many dental experts concur with this theory and believe that fluoride is essential, especially for children under the age of six, for the overall development of permanent teeth.
The Argument against Fluoride:
Many experts have definite concerns about the potential dangers of fluoride. Fluoride is in the iodine family of elements, and while iodine is essential for proper thyroid function in the human body, increased fluoride levels are thought to affect this very delicate balance, triggering thyroid problems. This can cause symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, weight gain, irregular bowel functions and cold extremities.
The anti fluoride camp also cites that fluoride is not actually effective against tooth decay. They argue that most developed countries do not actually fluoridate their water supplies at ALL. It’s basically an American “thing.”
For example, 97% of the population of Western Europe drinks non-fluoridated water. According to the WHO (World Health Organization) there is no difference between the levels of tooth decay in populations who drink fluoridated water in the U.S. when compared to non-fluoridated water in Europe. While the decline in the level of tooth decay over the last sixty years has been attributed to fluoridated water, it is argued that the same rate of decline has occurred in Europe and actually all developed countries, most of which do not have fluoridated water.
The main argument against fluoridated water is that the dosage of fluoride is assumed to be the same for every water drinker and it can’t be. It’s not only a matter of body weight, but the elderly and infants may be more susceptible to the potential dangers posed by fluoride. It also does not allow for the increased consumption of fluoride in from using fluoridated dental products or treatments.
About The Author, Terry Reeh, EcoWater Systems of Nebraska:
With more than 25 years experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space, Terry is a WQA (Water Quality Association) certified water specialist, LEVEL 3, as well as a WQA certified sales representative. EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is one of the biggest water treatment and water delivery businesses in the state, Terry currently sits on EcoWater Systems (a Berkshire Hathaway Company) national Peers committee, as a water treatment expert advising other water professionals with less experience on best trade and technology practices.