Fluoride…your local municipality's annual EPA-produced water quality report most likely describes it just like this:
Likely Source of Contamination: Erosion of natural deposits; Water additive which promotes strong teeth; Discharge from fertilizer and aluminum factories.
Fertilizer discharge? Doesn't this sound more like something we should be filtering out of our water instead of adding to it?
<h3>It's In The Water</h3>
The chances are good that your local community's water supply is fluoridated. The practice, intended to help prevent tooth decay, has been ongoing since the 1940's—and only recently seems to be starting to become more questionable due to is potentially harmful health effects. Many localities around the country are reversing their practice on introducing fluoride into the public water supply.
But the water supply is just part of the big picture. The substance is also found in many types of toothpaste, oral care products, and a large variety of other consumable products. Some countries have actually banned it an illegal substance.
<h3>Fluoride: What Do The Studies Show?</h3>
Dental associations have been well known to endorse and recommend the use of fluoride to protect from tooth decay. Interestingly enough though, they don't actually do the studies that suggest the positive benefits or assume responsibility for them. In other words, it is well-acknowledged that fluoride has certain possible benefits for protecting teeth—but this really doesn't take into account some of the other adverse effects that the substance can cause with health in general.
What's assumed to be good for the teeth isn't necessarily good for the body as a whole. And even then, the studies that have shown a correlation between fluoride and reduced tooth decay have been overshadowed by other studies that assert that there is no positive effect at all. For example:
- Some studies have demonstrated the likelihood that fluoride can be a carcinogen.
- In other studies, fluoride has been shown to increase the rate of kidney disease.
- Certain studies have tied the use of fluoridation in water supplies to hip fracture. In essence, these studies reflect that fluoride could indeed promote increased bone mass, but the bone was brittle.
- There are many other studies that show quite a variety of adverse effects caused by fluoride. These issues range all the way from birth defects to thyroid problems to neurological conditions.
Studies are exactly that—studies. Take them with a grain of salt, but also know that there are clearly many of them that contain convicting evidence recommending against the use of fluoride. This is probably to be expected. Perhaps the more interesting thing to note here, however, is a general lack of studies that show the positives.
<h3>A Poisonous Issue</h3>
Fluoride is definitely a poisonous substance at certain doses—this is exactly why you'll see that warning about not swallowing more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on the back of the tube of toothpaste in your medicine cabinet.
With fluoride in drinking water, those who consume more water are exposing themselves to corresponding increased levels of fluoride intake. Children are often the most likely group to experience the adverse effects of having too much fluoride in water. Can this possibly be a good thing?
In conclusion, the body of evidence that suggests that fluoride might actually be toxic is just too hard to ignore. You decide…is it really worth taking a chance with your health?
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