As a dentist, I have been taught that fluoride is a really good chemical for stopping decay of the teeth. Many water supplies have been fluoridated and for a long time. So why is there so much disagreement with this practice?

For one thing, the dental benefit from fluoride is mostly on the surface of the tooth, not from ingesting the fluoride. There is a surface reaction with the hydroxyapatite crystals (this is the mineral substructure of teeth) and fluoride. The two are chemically similar, and there is an interchange at the surface that makes the microscopic holes in the tooth smaller.

Thanks to the PR efforts of the dental profession, the idea of great benefits of fluoride is greatly entrenched in the minds of the public and government.  There are companies that make great profits by the public and government backing the idea that fluoride is beneficial and for this reason, we will continue to be impressed with the idea that we need fluoride in our water.

Since the inception of fluorination in the 40s, there has been growing public concern about the many different adverse effects of fluoride in the body.   Some opposition thought that it was a communist plot to destroy public health.    The concern  over the adverse affects grew in Europe to the point where it is banned in most places.

One possible side effect is that it can adversely affect the thyroid gland. The thyroid uses iodine as part of the hormones produced in the thyroid. Since iodine and fluoride are chemically similar, fluoride will compete with iodine at critical receptor sites. An adverse thyroid condition can then appear.  I see a LOT of patients with thyroid issues.

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Another reported adverse effect of iodine includes a lowering of IQ according to a Harvard study and neurotoxicity just to name a few. Despite the numerous studies that can be found on the Internet, the federal government continues to recommend that communities fluoridate their water.

 

Right now there is a growing  public awareness of the many threats to our health created by companies for profit. And the public are pushing back through their legislatures, when they can get them to listen.

 

My guess is that the more progressive states like Oregon will be the first to try to eliminate fluoride in the water and there will be a slow snowballing effect of other states to recommend the same.