Should I Avoid Fluoride?
While topical fluoride has been shown to reduce and prevent tooth decay, chronic fluoride exposure through excess ingestion (see my article Is Fluoride Toxic to the Brain? ) can lead to toxicity. Fluoride toxicity has been linked to a multitude of health problems, including:
1. Brittle bones and teeth, leading to pathological bone fractures and excessive pain in major joints
2. Brain toxicity, leading to symptoms such as insomnia, depression, memory problems, brain fog, fatigue, and lower IQ.
3. Thyroid dysfunction - can lead to fatigue, weight gain, hair loss.
For more information on fluoride's effects on the body, read my article Is Fluoride Toxic to the Brain?. Here are four tips to limit excess exposure to fluoride:
1. Use a fluoride-free toothpaste
There are a few brands that offer this option. My favorite is Tom’s, which can be found at most grocery stores or ordered online. The toothpaste contains no artificial dyes, sweeteners or flavors, and the taste is pleasant and leaves my mouth feeling just as fresh as regular toothpaste.
UPDATE: When I first transitioned to a fluoride-free toothpaste, I was skeptical that my teeth would stay as healthy as when I used fluoride-containing toothpaste. I officially started using Tom’s one year ago (October, 2017). I am still cavity-free and my teeth and are still white as can be (current pic of my teeth to the right)!
2. Avoid Drinking Fluoridated Water
The CDC website allows you to search your county to identify if it fluoridates the water supply. If your city fluoridates the water and you make the decision to drink non-fluoridated water, you have two options. You can:
-Purchase a water filter that filters out fluoride. Aquagear offers a cost-effective water filter pitcher that filters fluoride, as well as other toxins such as mercury, chlorine, mercury and lead. If you prefer a filter that you can install directly into your home water supply, APEC offers a 5-tier reverse osmosis filtration system that is a bit pricier, but known to be high quality, durable, and dependable.
-You can also buy bottled water. But beware! Some bottled waters are fluoridated! Here is a list that identifies the various bottled waters that are fluoridated and those that aren't. I personally have chosen to buy Primo water jugs for my family- the water is fluoride free and the jugs are BPA-free. My family and I use a Primo water dispenser that offers on-demand hot and cold water and cleans itself. If you go for this option, you can either buy primo water jugs online to be delivered, or buy it at select grocery stores that offer discount coupons for everytime you recycle an empty jug.
3. Avoid non-stick cookware.
Most non-stick cookware contain fluoride-containing chemicals called fluoropolymers (think: Teflon and perfluorooctanoic acid/aka PFOA). While these chemicals make non-stick cookware easier to cook, they are also toxic and are released into the food we cook at high temperatures. Make sure to read product labels carefully, because products claiming to contain no Teflon can still contain PFOA. Given that the chemicals used in nonstick cookware have also been associated with female infertility, I have avoided non-stick cookware for years, and instead stick with (pun intended) ceramic, caste iron, glass, and stainless steel cookware .
2. Be cautious of the tea you buy
Who doesn't enjoy a hot cup of tea on a cold winter day? That's completely ok, but it's important to make informed decisions about the tea you drink. Certain tea leaves absorb a particularly high amount of fluoride from the soil, which can lead to high fluoride levels in tea drinks. But not all teas carry the same risk. Herbal teas and white teas contain the lowest amounts of fluoride, while black, green, and oolong teas have the highest content.
Avoid buying tea grown in China
ALSO, where the tea leaves are grown makes a difference because of the content of fluoride in soils of different areas. For instance, green tea from China contains more fluoride than the green tea grown in Japan due to lower fluoride content in Japanese soil. Other areas with high fluoride soil content include Sri Lanka, India, parts of Africa and the Middle East. Also, the age of the tea leaf makes a big difference: the younger the leaves are, the less fluoride content they have been shown to have. Older mature leaves (which also on a side note, have less of the antioxidant EGCG than younger leaves) have up to 20 times more fluoride than younger leaves! The best bet if you want to avoid fluoride and still receive the health benefits of true tea is to go with White Tea. If you are to go with black, green or oolong tea, drink teas grown in areas with low environmental fluoride (i.e. the US or Japan) or younger tea leaves.
I hope this article helps you make the best informed decisions for your family, and empowers you to take control of how much fluoride exposure you and your family are exposed to.
European Commission. Critical review of any new evidence on the hazard profile, health effects, and human exposure to fluoride and the fluoridating agents of drinking water. Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER), 2011.
Hardeland, R. (2012). Neurobiology, Pathophysiology, and Treatment of Melatonin Deficiency and Dysfunction. The Scientific World Journal, 2012, 640389.
Jiang S, Su J, Yao S, Zhang Y, Cao F. Fluoride and Arsenic Exposure Impairs Learning and Memory and Decreases mGluR5 Expression in the Hippocampus and Cortex in Rats (2014) PLOS ONE 9(4): e96041.
Peckham, S., & Awofeso, N. (2014). Water Fluoridation: A Critical Review of the Physiological Effects of Ingested Fluoride as a Public Health Intervention. The Scientific World Journal, 2014, 293019. http://doi.org/10.1155/2014/293019
This website portrays my opinion and is not meant as medical advice. Any action taken based on these opinions is the responsibility of the reader.