Dangers of Fluoride: Why & How I Avoid It

I have personally decided to avoid fluoride. I believe the dangers of fluoride outweigh the potential benefits. Keep reading to discover how and why I avoid fluoride.

Pitcher of water on kitchen counter.

Fluoride is a chemical compound that is purposely added to the water supply because it is believed to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities.

Whether or not fluoride should be added to our tap water is a highly debated issue. Many people believe fluoride is dangerous and the risks outweigh the possible benefits.

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I would encourage you to do your own research in regard to whether or not you should avoid fluoride.

I have personally decided to try to reduce my fluoride exposure as much as possible.

Below you’ll discover what fluoride is, the dangers of fluoride, why I made the decision to avoid it, and more!

What is Fluoride?

Fluorides are compounds that combine the element fluorine with another substance. 

There are many different types of fluoride and they are not all created equal.

Some fluoride (calcium fluoride) is naturally occurring and is released from rocks into the soil, water, and air.

And other types of fluoride are synthetic. For example, sodium fluoride is a synthetic, industrial version.

It’s really important to differentiate between naturally occurring fluoride and synthetic fluorides when discussing the dangers.

All water contains trace amounts of naturally occurring calcium fluoride.

Water naturally contains a very small amount of calcium fluoride but generally not enough to pose any significant health risk.

The fluoride that is added to your toothpaste and water (and many other things) is synthetic.

History of Fluoride

Fluoride research began in the early 1900s. After many years of research, it was believed that fluoride could prevent tooth decay if consumed internally.

So in 1945, Grand Rapids became the first city in the world to fluoridate its drinking water. 

Now over 20 different countries have artificial water fluoridation.

Three chemicals are used to fluoridate drinking water in the United States – sodium fluoride, sodium fluorosilicate, and fluorosilicic acid.

In the 1950s fluoride began to be used in toothpaste as well.

Does Fluoride Prevent Cavities?

I cannot say with certainty whether or not fluoride prevents cavities or tooth decay. I will say there is evidence on both sides of the argument.

But with that being said it is very interesting to learn that it has been speculated that many of the early studies in favor of fluoride were funded by sugar lobbyists.

The sugar industry was well aware of the correlation between tooth decay and excess sugar consumption.

Old documents have recently surfaced showing that the U.S. sugar industry directly influenced the NIH to focus on approaches to prevent tooth decay in American children without reducing sugar intake.  

It seems to me that much of the early research into fluoride was bought and paid for – therefore making it unreliable.

You can read this article to learn more.

But even if some (unbiased) evidence exists that shows fluoride does, in fact, prevent cavities I think it’s important to outweigh the potential health dangers of fluoride with the benefits.

I also believe there are better ways to prevent cavities that don’t pose a significant danger to our health.

If you are not familiar with the book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration – I highly recommend reading it. The author, Weston A. Price, was a dentist that lived from 1870 to 1948.

He was also the chairman of the research section of the American Dental Association from 1914 to 1923.

While working as a dentist he began to notice the sudden decline in dental health in many of his patients.

He and his wife traveled the globe studying the diets and nutrition of various populations specifically isolated human groups. He discovered that groups of people who were eating an ancestral diet had excellent dental health compared to those who were not.

Not only did these groups of people not have cavities but many of them also had proper development of their facial structure. Meaning they had no need for braces or other orthodontic treatments.

He also noticed that groups of people who had adopted a modern, western diet had the worst dental health. He observed tooth decay and also improper development of the facial structure in these groups of people.

Based on his research and observations, Weston A. Price concluded that nutrition had a huge impact on dental health.

People that consumed animal fats and organ meats (mineral-rich foods) had excellent dental health while people who consumed large amounts of flour, sugar, and processed vegetable fats had nutritional deficiencies that caused many dental issues and health problems.

There of course is a lot more to all of this but this is the cliff notes version. As I mentioned earlier, I highly recommend reading the book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.

My main point is – dental health is about so much more than fluoride. Your diet impacts your dental health way more than whether or not you use fluoride.

There are actually many dentists who are speaking out about the dangers of fluoride. You can visit the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology website to learn more.

I’ll be writing a post all about holistic dental health soon.

Dangers of Fluoride

There are actually many dangers of fluoride contrary to what the American Dental Association says. Fluoride is an extremely disruptive element.

There is not a single enzyme in the body that requires fluoride, and many unintended consequences can occur due to too much fluoride in the body.

Fluoride Hinders Magnesium Absorption

Magnesium is arguably the most important mineral in the body. Magnesium is a cofactor for over 3,000 different enzymes within the body.

Without optimal amounts of magnesium and proper magnesium absorption, your body can not do all the things it needs to do.

You need proper magnesium absorption in order to have strong bones and teeth.

Fluoride changes the bioavailability of magnesium and makes it nonabsorbable.

I highly recommend the book The Magnesium Miracle to learn more about the importance of magnesium and how fluoride interacts with magnesium.

Fluoride Interferes With Copper Absorption

As I mentioned before there is not a single enzyme in the body that requires fluoride, yet it interferes with two major minerals that thousands of enzymes require – magnesium and copper.

One study showed that fluoride can decrease copper levels throughout the body.

Fluoride Increases Aluminum Absorption

Aluminum does not naturally enter the brain but when fluoride attaches to aluminum it forms alumina which can then pass through the blood-brain barrier.

Alumina is the compound of aluminum that is found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

Fluoride Decreases Melatonin Production

The pineal gland is a small gland located in your brain. It secretes melatonin and its main job is to help control the circadian cycle of sleep and wakefulness.

Excess fluoride accumulates in the pineal gland which may contribute to a decrease in melatonin production and changes in sleep cycle regulation and sleep behaviors.

Fluoride Inhibits Thyroid Hormones

A study done in 2018 concluded that fluoride exposure has the potential to disrupt thyroid function.

There are also a number of studies from China, India, and Russia that have found alterations in thyroid hormones in populations exposed to elevated levels of fluoride.

Fluoride is a Neurotoxin

High levels of fluoride are known to cause neurotoxicity in adults and negative impacts on memory and learning have been reported in rodent studies.

Recent studies show that fluoride may negatively impact cognitive development in children. Current animal and human research suggest that prenatal and perinatal fluoride exposure might have neurotoxic effects as well.

Sources of Fluoride Exposure

We are being exposed to fluoride through a variety of products – not just water and toothpaste. Some common sources of fluoride exposure are below.

  • Water
  • Toothpaste
  • Canned food
  • Supplements
  • Medications
  • Fruit juice
  • Soft drinks
  • Cookware
  • Non-organic vegetables & fruit
  • Dental treatments
  • Coffee & tea

How to Avoid Fluoride

Since making my decision to avoid fluoride I’ve been able to drastically reduce my overall exposure.

It’s extremely difficult (almost impossible) to completely avoid all fluoride but there are easy ways you can cut back on consumption.

Drink Fluoride-Free Water

Tap water is a huge source of fluoride so if you want to reduce your fluoride exposure drinking fluoride-free water is a must.

I personally chose to install an under-counter reverse osmosis water filtration system. Reverse osmosis systems remove fluoride from the water.

You can read this article – Ultimate Guide to Toxin-free, Clean Drinking Water at Home – to discover the filtration system I chose and why I chose it.

Keep in mind – if you decide to use a reverse osmosis system you absolutely have to remineralize your water.

The reverse osmosis systems not only remove the fluoride but also beneficial minerals. I use these trace mineral drops to remineralize my water.

A whole house water filtration system that removes fluoride would be even better. That way you could avoid absorbing fluoride through the skin while showering or bathing but they can be kind of expensive.

This one has been on my wishlist for quite a while.

Use Fluoride-Free Toothpaste

Another major source of fluoride exposure is toothpaste. Thankfully, ditching fluoride in toothpaste is a lot cheaper than ditching fluoride in water.

There are many different options when it comes to choosing fluoride-free toothpaste. I’m not loyal to just one brand. I use many different brands of fluoride-free toothpaste. Some of my favorites are below.

Some mouthwashes also contain fluoride. I personally choose to use fluoride-free mouthwash as well. You can check out a few of my favorites below.

Avoid Canned Foods

There are several reasons to avoid canned foods but one reason most people don’t think about is the risk of fluoride exposure.

Many canned foods are canned using fluoridated water. Over time canned food will absorb the fluoride from the water.

It’s best to just ditch the canned food. Opt for fresh or frozen instead.

Beware of Beverages

Any beverage that contains water (ie: fruit juice, coffee, tea, soda, etc.) more than likely was made with fluoridated water.

Sometimes the label will list filtered water as an ingredient instead of just water but don’t let that fool you. Although the water may have been filtered for heavy metals and other toxic ingredients – fluoride is not necessarily recognized as toxic and is very rarely ever removed.

The only instance in which you can be sure it has been removed is when the labels indicate the use of reverse osmosis water. But to be honest, the only time I have ever seen that listed on the label is for drinking water – never fruit juice, coffee, tea, or soda.

So the best way to avoid fluoride in beverages is to ditch the soda, make coffee and tea at home using remineralized RO water, and buy 100% pure juice with zero water added.

Studies show that tea leaves contain a significant amount of naturally occurring fluoride. I personally don’t worry about that. I love tea too much to give it up.

I am personally more concerned with synthetic fluoride than I am with naturally occurring fluoride.

Research Your Medication & Supplements

One place you might be surprised to find fluoride is in medications and supplements – but both can in fact contain fluoride.

A few different types of supplements contain fluoride, usually in the form of sodium fluoride. Most of these products are multivitamin/multimineral supplements. So be sure to check the ingredient labels of any supplements you take on a regular basis.

Many different pharmaceutical medications contain fluoride as well. I just did a quick Google search of – pharmaceutical drugs I’ve been prescribed in the past + fluoride – and discovered all three of them contained fluoride.

You can do your own Google search using the “name of the drug + fluoride” (for example: Cipro fluoride) to see if a drug contains fluoride.

I personally don’t take any pharmaceutical medications. If you are currently taking pharmaceutical drugs that contain fluoride be sure to talk to your doctor before stopping any medications.

Ditch The Toxic Cookware

Non-stick cookware contains fluoride in the form of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs).

PFCs do not break down and accumulate in your body over time.

I personally use cast iron and ceramic cookware instead of non-stick (Teflon) cookware.

Eat Organic

Many pesticides used in the U.S. contain fluoride. So if you are consuming non-organic fruits and veggies you are also consuming fluoride along with many other nasty chemicals.

Try to eat organic whenever possible to avoid unnecessary exposure to fluoride.

So to wrap this up I just want to make it clear that I am not saying fluoride has no proven benefits when it comes to cavity prevention. I honestly am not sure.

What I am saying though is I personally believe that the dangers of fluoride outweigh the benefits. I also think there are better ways to prevent dental cavities and decay that don’t pose a significant health risk.

I also realize it’s almost impossible to avoid all sources of fluoride exposure and that is okay. I’m a big believer in balance and not obsessing over things we have no control over.

I do whatever I can to reduce my fluoride exposure and try not to worry about the rest.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m not telling you what you should do. I am just sharing why and how I personally avoid fluoride.

If you would like to learn more about the dangers of fluoride I recommend reading the book – The Case against Fluoride: How Hazardous Waste Ended Up in Our Drinking Water and the Bad Science and Powerful Politics That Keep It There.

All sources for this article are below.

Sources

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