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Fluoride: No Reason to Smile

Written by Robert Schecter   
Saturday, 01 March 2008 00:00
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At the end of last year, with the hope of improving dental health, Southern California began to add fluoride to its water supplies—a procedure first adopted 68 years ago in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Surprisingly, even though fluoride is now added to most public drinking water and found in the vast majority of toothpaste, few of us actually know what it is.

For promoters of the practice, that’s probably a good thing. Fluoride, as it turns out, is one of the most toxic substances known to man. According to former EPA scientist Dr. Robert Carton, “Fluoride is somewhat less toxic than arsenic and more toxic than lead.” Which is interesting since fluoridated water contains on average 1 mg/liter of fluoride—even though the EPA considers any water containing more than .015 mg/liter of either lead or arsenic to be in excess of its maximum contaminant level.

In its elemental form, fluoride is found in minerals in the earth’s crust, such as apatite, and cryolite. Apatite, used in the manufacture of phosphate fertilizers, is the primary source of the fluoride used in water fluoridation programs. The United States Department of Health and Human Services states: “In the manufacture of phosphate fertilizer …fluorides…are released as toxic pollutants.” That is unless these toxic pollutants are recovered and dumped into our children’ drinking water.

Additionally, fluoride is widely used as an insecticide. It kills bugs while at the same time giving them great teeth. Fluoride is in fact so toxic, your tube of toothpaste contains the warning, “If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.”

Fluoride and fluoridation are responsible for a condition called dental fluorosis, which, in very mild cases, causes white and yellow blotches on our children’s developing teeth. The condition is permanent and can only be masked by expensive cosmetic surgery. Fluorosis is on the rise afflicting 20 to 75% of children living in fluoridated areas.

Dentists often blame swallowed toothpaste for the problem because it allows them to use the “fluoride is only a problem when used improperly” excuse. However, current levels of dietary fluoride are more than enough to cause the condition without any help from toothpaste.

These same dentists assure us the discoloration effecting our children’s teeth is “only cosmetic” (while at the same time marketing their whitening products and services by reminding us how important a beautiful smile is) and that the condition is mild or very mild—which is meaningless when one considers that moderate to severe cases of fluorosis. When waters containing naturally high levels of fluoride are consumed, victims are left with crumbling, dark brown remnants of teeth.