While the ADA, mainstream dentists, public health officials and others continue to insist on the virtues of fluoride for promoting dental health, reasons to avoid fluoride and fluoridation continue to mount :
In the latest issue of Osteoporosis International, researchers report that fluoride consumption from tea and toothpaste damaged one woman’s bones.
Fluoride – which is added to water to reduce tooth decay – accumulates in and can weaken bones. To prevent bone damage or skeletal fluorosis, in 1986 the Environmental Protection Agency set 4 milligrams per liter (mg/L) as water fluoride’s maximum-contaminant-level. In 2006, the National Research Council reported that 4 mg/L is too high to protect health. Yet, some brewed teas contain almost twice that concentration.
This case describes a 53-year-old British woman with a broken bone in her foot, abnormally dense bones and badly decayed teeth.
“A striking feature of our case was the very high serum, urine, nail and bone fluoride levels, to our knowledge the highest ever reported in a patient with [skeletal] fluorosis,” the research team writes.
Her breakfast tea measured 7.6 mg/L fluoride, which she drank six 8-ounce-cups of daily. She also brushed her teeth 8 to 10 times a day. Adding two to three mg of fluoride from other dietary sources, this woman ingested “a chronic daily dose of 17 to 18 mg, an amount sufficient to cause the skeletal changes…,” the researchers report.
Yes, this is an extreme case, of course. And after all, most of us don’t brush our teeth nearly so much – with or without fluoridated toothpaste – nor do we Americans drink so much tea. On the other hand, many of us do live in communities with fluoridated water and may also be exposed to fluoride through airborne industrial pollution and other sources.
So perhaps a case history like this may inspire us to be more cautious and conscientious about how much fluoride we deliberately take into our bodies. While we may never suffer bone damage like that described above, less dramatic fluoride intake can still damage our health. But there are steps we can take to reduce our intake, for instance:
- Only drink water that has been distilled cleaned with a reverse osmosis filtering system.
- Use non-fluoridated toothpaste.
- Limit your intake of brewed tea.
For more tips, see “Ways to Reduce Fluoride Exposure” at About.com.
“Skeletal Fluorosis Due to Excessive Tea and Toothpaste Consumption” (full text, PDF)