Swallowing Fluoride? Study Shows Risks Without Benefits

Low-income children who consumed recommended fluoride doses have more fluoride-damaged teeth and high cavity rates, according to research published in the January 2011 International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

For the study, Mexican preschoolers and school-aged children in a low-income area were measured for cavities, fluorosis (fluoride-discolored teeth) and urine fluoride levels.

Fluoride was measured in bottled water, juices, nectars and carbonated drinks (range 0.08 ppm to 1.70 ppm).

Despite urinary excretion within an optimal fluoride intake range, 78% of 4 to 5 year olds and 73% of 11 to 12 year-olds had cavities, while 60% of the older children had dental fluorosis.

In this study, dental fluorosis was significantly associated with the amount of toothpaste used, age and frequency of brushing. Three-fourths of the parents used fluoridated salt for cooking. (In Mexico, fluoride is added to salt because water fluoride levels are low.)

The researchers reported that “the results of previous studies show that the consumption of fluoridated water in addition to fluoride-containing products may promote an increased development of dental fluorosis lesions, even in people living in regions considered to be non-endemic areas.”

Commenting on the study, attorney Paul Beeber, President, New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc., said, “Legislators cavalierly order fluoride into the bodies of American children without considering their individual total fluoride intake, clearly causing potential harm. Legislators who vote for fluoridation often base their decision on hearsay and fail to look at the science behind fluoridation.”

The researchers stressed that individual variables should be considered before fluoride is administered – factors such as nutritional status, total fluoride ingestion and excretion. Also, environmental and geographical factors should be evaluated, including location, weather and altitude.

The CDC admits that fluoride’s predominant mode of action is topical and that “(t)he prevalence of dental caries in a population is not inversely related to the concentration of fluoride in enamel, and a higher concentration of enamel fluoride is not necessarily more efficacious in preventing dental caries.”

This study adds to a growing body of evidence indicating that fluoride ingestion is ineffective at reducing tooth decay, therefore making water fluoridation an outdated drug delivery system.


Adapted from an NYS Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation media release


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