Did you know that the majority of US city water supplies contain added fluoride? And did you know that most of Europe, China, and Japan have banned water fluoridation?
Here on the homefront, fluoride is everywhere — in toothpastes, foods & drinks made with fluoridated water, baby formula, teflon coated cookware, and as part of our dental exams. While many communities have put an end to fluoridation programs, we truly do still have a long way to go.
Why should we be concerned about fluoride?
Because of its effects on the following:
- brain — lower IQs in children, increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s, symptoms associated with dementia, altered melatonin production, psychiatric disease
- endocrine system — altering hormonal balance and calcium levels, parathyroid function
- thyroid — elevated TSH concentrations, increased goiter prevalence
- reproductive system — earlier menarche, calcium metabolism & postmenopausal osteoporosis, low estrogen levels, low testosterone levels
- blood sugar levels — increased blood glucose, impaired glucose tolerance, increased severity of diabetes
- immunity — accumulated fluoride leads to high fluoride concentrations in bones; since bone marrow is where immune cells develop, immunity can be compromised (leaving immunocompromised individuals at an even greater risk)
- body in general — GI, liver, & kidney toxicity (including kidney stones), joint problems, accelerated aging, potential to initiate or promote cancers
According to the Fluoride Action Network:
- fluoridated countries do not experience less tooth decade than non-fluoridated countries (and according to the World Health Organization, there is no discernible difference)
- fluoridation is not a natural process (fluorosilicic acid — the main fluoride chemical that is added to water — is a corrosive acid captured in the air pollution control devices of the fertilizer industry because these gases are hazardous air pollutants which cause significant environmental harm)
- 40% of American teens have dental fluorosis (a condition characterized by mottled and discolored tooth enamel as a result of exposure to excessive levels of fluoride), with rates as high as 70-80% in some places
- the financial cost of fluoridation would be put to better use providing better dental care and better access to nutritious foods
When our own kiddos were babies and toddlers, we lived in a suburb with municipal fluoridated water. This made their pediatrician very happy. Once we considered moving out to a more rural area, we realized we’d likely purchase a property with its own private well for providing water to the home. When I mentioned this to our kiddos’ pediatrician and to their dentist, they both became concerned and reminded me that we’d likely need to add fluoride to our well water in order to ensure our family’s dental health. This, despite the fact that the American Dental Association itself concluded in 2006 that “greater fluoride intake and greater dentifrice intake increase fluorosis risk.”
A few specific ways you can limit fluoride exposure:
- Invest in a high-quality water filter. This water filter is the one we were about to buy for our home, right before we moved, had we stayed put in the suburbs on municipal water. It removes not only fluoride, but also nitrates, pesticides, bacteria, herbicides, mercury, cysts, parasites, VOCs, lead — you name it. It has a pretty large capacity and is also good for outdoor use, traveling, and hostile environments where electricity, water pressure or treated water may not be available.
- Use high-quality, non-leaching, non-coated cookware (I prefer enameled cast iron).
- If you’re not ready to make your own toothpaste, try my kiddos’ favorite fluoride-free kids toothpaste or my favorite fluoride-free toothpaste. These are the toothpastes we used to use before we started making our own toothpaste, and we keep it on hand for when we run out of our DIY toothpaste and I haven’t gotten a chance to whip up another batch.
- When you’re ready, easily make your own toothpaste by mixing together (in no particular order):
1/2 cup coconut oil
4 tablespoons baking soda
4 tablespoons food-grade bentonite clay
(If it’s too runny, add a little more of the dry ingredients. If it’s too solid, add a little more coconut oil. If you want a stronger flavor, add a few more drops of essential oils. Then keep your fresh, non-toxic toothpaste in these nifty refillable tubes or handy tiny reusable jars.)
Once you’ve got the hang of this basic — but very effective — toothpaste recipe above, you can experiment further by whipping up a batch of my DIY Remineralizing & Whitening Toothpaste recipe which calls for teeth whiteners like ground turmeric and activated charcoal, as well as various organic spices for flavoring it. It’s a super-easy recipe, too, but the ingredients above are your best intro to creating your first DIY toothpaste batch!