The Truth About Fluoride

© 2017 by Kate Parker, RDH, BS-DH, RF

the truth about fluorideThe truth about fluoride is quite startling

This is one of those topics where my profession splits right down the middle. There are those who believe fluoride is the best thing since the invention of the toothbrush, and there are those who believe it is one of the world's worst poisons. I fall into the latter category, and I'll tell you why.

I have always been a person to question everything, and that has lead me to spend countless hours of my free time researching topics for myself, especially topics within my profession. I've studied and followed this fluoride debate for over 10 years, and by that I mean I've read a lot about it, including books, exposés, and a large stack of peer-reviewed scientific journal articles. 

You might think I'm biased right out of the gate, but this isn't the case: I'm just well-read in the field. My opinions are based on all the information I've collected on fluoride over the years, and that includes literature from both sides of the debate. I don't come to conclusions willy-nilly, but rather very methodically, systematically, and with reams of evidence collected over many years. In my professional opinion, based on all I've read, I believe that the use of fluoride in dentistry and for "public health" will one day be viewed as highly unethical, misguided, criminal, and even barbaric.

The Truth About Fluoride: The History

the truth about fluorideThe face-lift performed on fluoride more than fifty years ago has fooled a lot of people. Instead of conjuring up the image of a crippled worker or a poisoned forest, we see smiling children

Fluoride and its compounds have been used industrially for hundreds of years. 

Unfortunately what factories discovered in the late 1800s was that fluoride poisoning was killing and injuring the majority of its workers. Instead of discontinuing its use (and losing money and business), they sought to find a way by which to move the focus away from fluoride's harmful effects.

The discovery of fluoride's potential link to decreased cavity rates was promoted. Studies of this link were organized and funded by the corporations who used the most fluoride in their industrial applications. These studies (of course) showed that fluoride is harmless and even healthy. There was a hostile response to studies that showed fluoride is a neurotoxin (now its official classification) and harmful. Grants were discontinued, research was dropped, and the scientists who had been researching the harmful effects of fluoride were ostracized and blacklisted.

  • "It's a toxic waste product of many types of industry; for instance, glass production, phosphate fertilizer production, and many others. They would have no way to dispose of the tons of fluoride waste they produce unless they could find some use for it, so they made up this story about it being good for dental health. Then they can pass it through everyone's bodies and into the sewer. It is a well coordinated effort, to keep it from being declared for what it is--toxic waste" - Dr. John R. Lee, MD, chairman of the Environmental Health Committee, Marin County
  • "The face-lift performed on fluoride more than fifty years ago has fooled a lot of people. Instead of conjuring up the image of a crippled worker or a poisoned forest, we see smiling children" - Chris Bryson, "The Fluoride Debate"

Industrial uses of fluoride:

the truth about fluorideHistorically, fluoride and its compounds have been used industrially for hundreds of years

Fluoride has been the subject of more litigation than all other pollutants combined. This is especially true regarding the damaging effects of fluoride on agriculture.

The media doesn't generally report or publicize these findings due to the overarching desire in our society to present fluoride as safe. If fluoride was publicly decreed not safe, after all, entire sectors of trade and business, not to mention the entire field of dentistry, would be destroyed.

  • "Fluoride is so much a part of multibillion-dollar industrial and pharmaceutical income that any withdrawal for any reason by the promoters, the fluoridationists, or by anyone who has supported them for whatever purpose is impossible on a financial basis, embarrassing on a reputation basis, and unthinkable on a legal basis" - Ian E. Stephen

List of the common industrial uses of fluoride:

  • Enriching uranium
  • Chemical and biological weapons (Sarin nerve gas)
  • Nuclear reactors
  • Nuclear weapons (including the atomic bomb)
  • Pesticides, insecticides, and fungicides
  • Rat poison
  • Production of high-octane gasoline
  • Smelting aluminum, steel, and beryllium
  • Computer circuit boards
  • Ski wax
  • Refrigerant gases (fluorocarbons)
  • Teflon plastic
  • Carpets
  • Waterproof clothing
  • Corrosives
  • Etched glass
  • Wood preservative
  • Bricks and ceramics
  • Numerous drugs, such as Prozac & Cipro

The Truth About Fluoride: Does It Work?

the truth about fluorideDental fluorosis: the enamel organ is electively sensitive to the deleterious effects of fluorine

Fluoride has no consistently documented benefit in the human body. Evidence supporting fluoride's use is generally sparse, wildly outdated, and/or not overwhelming. Even the "good" studies promoting it are suspect due to bias and improper study techniques, resulting in moderate quality at best. On the contrary, there are reams of significant, high-quality studies documenting the deleterious and cumulative effects of fluoride on the body and mind.

  • "The once general assumption that fluorine is necessary to the quality of the enamel rests upon an insufficient foundation. Our present knowledge most decidedly indicates that fluorine is not necessary to the quality of that tissue, but that on the contrary the enamel organ is electively sensitive to the deleterious effects of fluorine" - Kaj Roholm

In other words, more than 80 years ago, the world' s leading fluoride scientist rejected the notion that fluoride was needed, or indeed beneficial, for stronger teeth. He agreed with earlier studies that found that fluoride weakened the enamel, and explicitly warned against giving fluoride to children.

Weakened enamel is a common side effect of fluoride use. Dental fluorosis is a condition that effects up to 60% of the population, causing tooth enamel to become weak and brittle. It's characterized by the hypomineralization (lack of mineral content) of tooth enamel, attributed to the ingestion of fluoride as the enamel is forming. Fluorosis indicates the toxic effect of fluoride (fluoride poisoning), much like a blue line on the gum tissues denotes lead poisoning. Indeed, fluoride is more toxic to the body than lead.

  • Even those who advocate for fluoridation have had to admit there's a pandemic of fluorosis in the U.S. In January 2011 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a new, vastly decreased "recommendation" for fluoride in the water supply. The new recommendation is 0.7 ppm, decreased from 1 ppm, which is nearly a 30% change

Video: Dr. Dean Burk, Chief Emeritus,
U.S. National Cancer Institute

"This amounts to public murder on a grand scale. It is a public crime--it would be--to put fluoride in the drinking water of people." - Dean Burk, Ph.D., Chief Emeritus, U.S. National Cancer Institute (former head of the NCI's cytochemistry section)

The Truth About Fluoride: Water Fluoridation

the truth about fluorideFluoride added to drinking water is scrubbed from the smokestacks of phosphate fertilizer mills

An editorial published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, October 1, 1944 stated: "Drinking water containing as little as 1.2 ppm fluoride will cause developmental disturbances. We cannot run the risk of producing such serious systemic disturbances. The potentialities for harm outweigh those for good."

Most people believe fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral, and this is indeed partly true. Fluoride salts do occur naturally in nature and are naturally present in many fresh water supplies. The complication occurs when people assume that since fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral, this natural mineral is what is added to the water supply and dental products. However, this is not the case at all.

  • Fluorosilicic acid, an industrial waste byproduct, is added to the water supply
  • The three types of fluoride added to toothpastes and mouthwashes (sodium fluoride, stannous fluoride, and acidulated phosphate fluoride) are manufactured in chemical plants

"Some dentists are unaware that much of the fluoride added to drinking water today in the United States is actually an industrial waste, 'scrubbed' from the smokestacks of Florida phosphate fertilizer mills to prevent it from damaging livestock and crops in the surrounding countryside. In a sweetheart deal these phosphate companies are spared the expense of disposing of this 'fluorosilicic acid' in a toxic waste dump. Instead, the acid is sold to municipalities, shipped in rubber-lined tanker trucks to reservoirs across North America and injected into drinking water for the reduction of cavities in children. (So toxic are the contents of the fluoride trucks that in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack, authorities were alerted to keep a watchful eye on road shipments of the children's tooth decay reducer.)" - Chris Bryson, "The Fluoride Deception"

  • “In regard to the use of fluorosilicic acid as a source of fluoride for fluoridation, this agency regards such use as an ideal environmental solution to a long-standing problem. By recovering byproduct fluorosilicic acid from fertilizer manufacturing, water and air pollution are minimized” - Rebecca Hanmer, Former Deputy Assistant Administrator For Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
water fluoridation chartRates of cavities have declined by similar amounts in countries with and without fluoridation
  • While it's true that caries (tooth decay) rates have drastically been reduced since the 1940s, it should be noted that the countries where fluoride is not added to the water have seen similar improvements. Access to dental care, improved dental care, better nutrition, improved dental education, and the use of antibiotics can all help explain the parallel improvement in dental health and cavity reduction.

Due to fluoride's ability to easily bind with calcium, about half of ingested fluoride is stored in the bones. This contributes to the development of osteoporosis and skeletal fluorosis, and is a leading contributor to hip fractures, frail bones, and frail teeth.

  • "We would not purposely add arsenic to the water supply. And we would not purposely add lead. But we do add fluoride. The fact is that fluoride is more toxic than lead and just slightly less toxic than arsenic" - Dr. John Yiamouyiannis, Ph.D. (Biochemistry)

The Truth About Fluoride: Toxic Side Effects

skeletal fluorosisDue to fluoride's ability to easily bind with calcium, about half of ingested fluoride is stored in the bones. This contributes to the development of skeletal fluorosis, shown here

Hundreds of studies over the past 100+ years have shown time and again, under rigorous scientific scrutiny, that fluoride is a neurotoxin and is devastatingly poisonous to the body. In fact it's officially classified as a neurotoxin. It's in the same category with arsenic, lead, and mercury; it's more toxic than lead and slightly less toxic than arsenic. The evidence is conclusive and overwhelming: under no circumstance should fluoride be introduced into the body for any purpose whatsoever.  

Fluoride is a member of the so-called “bone-seeking” poisons due to its ability to displace hydroxyl groups in the hydroxyapatite that forms the mineral content of our bones. It accumulates in the tissues, and over time, has been found to have a high correlation with scores of common diseases.

The enormous literature resource on fluoride includes these descriptive terms:

fluoride cancerDean Burk, Ph.D., Chief Emeritus, U.S. National Cancer Institute (former head of the NCI's cytochemistry section)
  • Carcinogen - a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue
  • Clastogen - mutagenic agent inducing disruption or breakages of chromosomes
  • Cytotoxin - a substance toxic to cells
  • Genotoxin - chemical agent that damages the genetic information within a cell
  • Low-Dose Endocrine Disruptor - endocrine system (hormone) disruption at low doses
  • Mitogen - a substance that induces or stimulates mitosis
  • Mutagen - chemical substance that causes genetic mutation
  • Neurotoxin - toxin that is poisonous or destructive to nerve tissue
  • Poison - substance capable of causing the illness or death of a living organism

"From 30,000-50,000 deaths/year are directly traceable to fluoridation [in the US]; 10,000-20,000 of these deaths are from fluoride-induced cancers. Fluoride makes your body absorb extra aluminum. And where does the aluminum go? Your brain. And what metal shows up alarmingly in the brains of Alzheimer's victims? You guessed it" - Dr. John Yiamouyiannis, Ph.D. (Biochemistry)

fluoride dose

Fluoride use has been found to have a high correlation with the following conditions:

  • Genetic disorders and cell death
  • Cancer / tumors
  • Atherosclerosis / cardiovascular disease
  • Osteoporosis / bone fractures / hip fractures
  • CNS degradation
  • Hypothyroid / thyroid malfunction / goiter
  • Low IQ / mental retardation
  • Neurodevelopmental disabilities / autism / dyslexia
  • Down Syndrome
  • Impaired brain function
  • Hyperactivity / ADHD
  • Apathy
  • Decreased melatonin
  • Depression
  • Pineal gland calcification
  • Alzheimer's / dementia
  • Premature aging / collagen destruction
  • Systemic autoimmune damage / autoimmune disease
  • Chronic systemic illness
  • Endocrine system interference
  • Kidney damage
  • Liver damage
  • Arthritis
  • Infertility / damaged sperm
  • Precocious puberty
  • Dental fluorosis
  • Skeletal fluorosis

The Truth About Fluoride: How To Avoid It

An increasing number of informed and health-conscious consumers are opting out of fluoride use and are choosing alternatives instead. As with any growing movement, more and more products are being produced to cater to the needs of the community. This section will give a brief overview of what you should be looking for if you don't want fluoride in your life. 

Xylitol toothpaste:

Xylitol is a non-fermentable sugar alcohol and cariogenic bacteria cannot process it. It starves harmful oral bacteria and genetically interferes with the bacteria's ability to attach to the teeth over time. It also allows calcium ions to return to the teeth via saliva and is the best natural product to help remineralize teeth and prevent cavities from forming in the first place.

  • Xylitol is 5-6 times more effective at decreasing cavity-causing oral bacteria than fluoride
  • Xylitol is 5 times more effective at preventing cavities than fluoride (xylitol: 71% cavity reduction, vs. fluoride: 14% cavity reduction)
  • Xylitol use changes cavity-causing bacteria's DNA, affecting their ability to adhere to the tooth surface 
  • Even short-term use of xylitol can have positive anti-cavity effects for up to 5 years

Fluoride removal water filtration systems:

In most parts of the United States, and in many other countries, our tap water has been fluoridated, and you really don't want to consume it or even bathe with it. Reverse osmosis and other multi-stage water filters completely remove fluoride from your tap water so you have something pure to drink and/or bathe in (depending on which type of filter you get.)

Please ensure that the filter you're looking at is for *fluoride removal* specifically, and is not just a heavy metal filter. Fluoride ions are very, very tiny and require a special type of filter system just for them.

Crystal Quest is my personal favorite for drinking water, as they have amazingly effective filters at very affordable prices, and wonderful customer service. Generally these filters last for at least a couple years even with a family of four, so for the price the benefits are great. However, there are many other brands on the market that have great filters, too.

Avoid processed foods and drinks:

avoid processed foodsProcessed foods and drinks contain concentrated fluoride

Most people buy and eat processed foods and drinks; it's convenient and inexpensive. What most don't realize, though, is that these products generally contain a high level of concentrated fluoride.

Virtually all of these processed foods and drinks either contain water or they've been treated with fluoridated water. The fluoride is generally much more concentrated in these products than occurs naturally in the soil. When in doubt, buy unprocessed organic fruits and vegetables.

  • Flavored drinks and black teas contain more fluoride than processed foods
  • Buy organic products and produce to minimize fluoride exposure
  • Avoid processed foods to avoid additional fluoride exposure

Avoid Teflon & non-stick pans:

teflon fluorideAvoid Teflon if you don't want to consume fluoride

Teflon is a non-stick coating that was developed by DuPont in the 1930s. The main chemical in Teflon is polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE.) Over time, and when heated to high temperatures as seen in cooking, these particles begin to release into the food you're cooking. This has been shown to contribute to an increased fluoride concentration in the foods that are cooked in Teflon pots and pans. In addition Teflon chemicals off-gas into the air, damaging the lungs when inhaled.

Anolon, Calphalon, Circulon, Silversone, and Tefal are lines of cookware that incorporate Teflon technology into their products, although there are many others. Avoid these brands and all Teflon products if you want to decrease your fluoride consumption.

The safest cookware to use: Glass (Pyrex), stainless steel, and cast iron

Avoid fluoroquinolones / quinolones:

fluoroquinolonesAvoid fluoroquinolones, especially if you have thyroid issues

Fluoroquinolones, also known as quinolones, are antibiotics that are built with a fluoride backbone.

This is bad in and of itself, but is especially worrying for those with thyroid issues. Fluoride competes with iodine, and iodine is involved in making T4 (thyroxine) hormone, necessary for healthy thyroid function.

Avoid the following fluoride-based antibiotics:

  • Alatrofloxacin
  • Avelox
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Cipro
  • Ciloxan eye drops
  • Floxacin
  • Floxin
  • Floxin Otic
  • Levaquin
  • Levofloxacin
  • Moxifloxacin
  • Norfloxacin
  • Noroxin
  • Ofloxacin
  • Ocuflox
  • Quixin
  • Trovafloxacin
  • Trovan
  • Vigamox eye drops

The Truth About Fluoride: How To Manage Fluoride Exposure

Reduce fluoride consumption:

the truth about fluorideMinimize, avoid, refuse

This may seem obvious, but before clearing the accumulated fluoride from your body, ensure that you are consuming as little as possible. This will allow the remaining fluoride stored in your body to be removed and excreted effectively.

  • Use xylitol toothpastes and mouthwashes
  • Minimize flavored processed drinks
  • Eat non-processed organic fruits and vegetables
  • Use a fluoride removal water filtration system
  • Avoid fluoride-based pharmaceuticals
  • Avoid Teflon and non-stick pots and pans
  • Refuse fluoride varnish at the dental office
  • Refuse fluoride-impregnated fillings at the dental office
  • Refuse fluoride-impregnated sealants at the dental office

To get a better idea of how much fluoride has accumulated in your body, consider ordering a fluoride urine test.

Eat more tamarind:

fluoride detoxificationTamarind consumption increases fluoride excretion

Studies have shown that tamarind consumption results in the elevated excretion of fluoride through urination. Urinary excretion is the main route of elimination for fluoride.

Tamarind is a tart fruit commonly found in Indian, Thai, Mexican, and many other culture's cuisines. The fruit is readily available either in grocery stores (in larger cities) or online.

Tamarind tea fluoride detox:

  • 4 cups water & 2 tamarind pods
  • Rinse tamarind pods
  • Add water and tamarind pods in a small covered pot and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer 15-20 minutes until the water is brown and the pod shell is soft 
  • Remove from the stove
  • Carefully remove the pods from the hot water and remove the shells from the tamarind
  • Put the tamarind without the shells back into the water and let the tamarind steep for another 10-15 minutes
  • Remove the tamarind from the water, and remove the pulp from the seeds
  • Strain the pulp and tamarind water
  • Serve hot as a tea, or serve as a drink at room temperature

Increase iodine intake:

Studies have shown that iodine displaces fluoride, so the use of iodine as a fluoride detox is especially important to the thyroid. The recommended daily intake of iodine for adults of both sexes in North America and Western Europe varies from 150 to 300 ug.

Only use iodine if your are free from thyroid autoimmune diseases. Do not take iodine if you suffer from Hashimotos.

Foods high in iodine:

  • Cranberries
  • Navy beans
  • Potatoes
  • Prunes
  • Sea vegetables (kelp, kombu, etc.)
  • Strawberries

Increase boron intake:

A study by Zhou and his colleagues showed that boron effectively removed fluoride, which was excreted in urine. Signs of skeletal fluorosis practically disappeared during the experiment.

Marcovitch and Stanley initiated studies in 1942 on identifying antidotes for fluorine. Their evidence revealed that boric acid, a compound derived from boron, had value as an antidote because it combined with fluoride to form a fluoborate that could be excreted in urine.

Foods high in boron:

  • Avocados
  • Almonds
  • Dates
  • Hazlenuts
  • Prunes
  • Raisins


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