When people are exposed to excessive levels of fluoride through sources like drinking water, foods and beverages and even swallowed toothpaste, it often results in a condition known as dental fluorosis. The internal uptake of fluoride into teeth over time causes their enamel to become mottled and discolored, the end result being damaged teeth that have essentially rotted from the inside out.
Dr. Steven Levy, D.D.S., and his team found during their study that "fluoride intakes during each of the first four years (of a child's life) were individually significantly related to fluorosis on maxillary central incisors, with the first year more important." They went on to warn that "infant formulas reconstituted with higher fluoride water can provide 100 to 200 times more fluoride than breast milk, or cow's milk."
In other words, young children have the highest risk of severe tooth damage from fluoride, especially those that are six months of age or younger, a time during which children's blood-brain barriers have not fully formed. Even low ingestion levels cause the direct depositing of fluoride into the teeth, brain and other bodily tissues and organs which, besides causing fluorosis, also causes disorders of the brain and nervous system, kidneys and bones.
And the American Dental Association (ADA) has known that fluoride exposure causes dental fluorosis since at least 2006, but the group has done nothing to warn the 200 million Americans that live in communities with fluoridated water to avoid its use in babies and infants. Many dentists still recommend that children and adults not only drink fluoridated water, but even advise parents to add fluoride drops to their children's drinking water if the family lives in unfluoridated areas or drinks private well water.
Fluoride causes serious health problemsIn 2006, a study published in The Lancet identified fluoride as "an emerging neurotoxic substance" that causes severe brain damage. The National Research Council (NRC) wrote that "it is apparent that fluorides have the ability to interfere with the functions of the brain and the body by direct and indirect means."
About a month later, another study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found a definitive link between fluoride intake and reduce IQ levels, indicating once again that fluoride intake causes cognitive damage.
At Harvard University, researchers identified a link between fluoride and bone cancer. Published 14 years after it began, the study found that the highest rates of osteosarcoma, a fatal form of bone cancer, were occurring most in populations drinking fluoridated water. The findings confirmed those of a prior government study back in 1990 that involved fluoride-treated rats.
Kidney disease is another hallmark of fluoride poisoning. Multiple animal studies have found that fluoride levels as low as 1 part per million (ppm) -- which is the amount added to most fluoridated water systems -- cause kidney damage. And a Chinese study found that children exposed to slightly higher fluoride levels had biological markers in their blood indicative of kidney damage.
The NRC has also found that fluoride impairs proper thyroid function and debilitates the endocrine system. Up until the 1970s, fluoride was used in Europe as a thyroid-suppressing medication because it lowers thyroid function. Many experts believe that widespread hypothyroidism today is a result of overexposure to fluoride.
Since fluoride is present in most municipal water supplies in North America, it is absurd to even suggest that parents avoid giving it to their young children. How are parents supposed to avoid it unless they install a whole-house reverse osmosis water filtration system? And even if families install such a system, fluoride is found in all sorts of food and beverages, not to mention that it is absorbed through the skin every time people wash their hands with or take a shower in fluoridated water. Perhaps these are some of the reasons why the ADA has said nothing about the issue despite the findings.
There simply is no legitimate reason to fluoridate water. Doing so forcibly medicates an entire population with a carcinogenic, chemical drug. There really is no effective way to avoid it entirely, and nobody really knows how much is ingested or absorbed on a daily basis because exposure is too widespread to calculate. But political pressure and bad science have continued to justify water fluoridation in most major cities, despite growing mountains of evidence showing its dangers.
Ending water fluoridation is a difficult task, but concerted efforts by citizens, local authorities, and even dentists, have resulted in some significant victories. To learn more about fluoride, check out the Fluoride Action Network (FAN):
Sources for this story include: