MOUNT HOREB – Rinse and spit. Spit really, really well.

On Wednesday night, village resident Susan Michetti spoke about possible adverse health effects of fluoridated drinking water, a topic she has been researching since January.

Jim Walters, a naturopath practicing in Mount Horeb, attended Michetti’s presentation, which was hosted by the Southwest Wisconsin Area Progressives, because he has been concerned about the effects of fluoride for many years.

“After 20 years, fluoride is one thing that will push my hot button,” said Walters. “I feel that fluoride is a toxic drug, and that if we want to put it in our body, we should be able to choose to go to the dentist and have it put on our teeth. We should not have it put in our drinking water.”

Aside from educating the public, Michetti plans to speak to village officials, asking them to stop adding fluoride to Mount Horeb’s drinking water. The subject is on the April 11 Utilities Committee Agenda.

“There are enough warnings that fluoride is probably dangerous that it would be justified to stop fluoridating the water supply,” said Michetti. “This species needs to start detoxifying.”

While Michetti describes research on the subject as limited, she lists many health issues she believes to be caused by fluoride toxicity. Dental and skeletal fluorosis, which is caused by fluoride crystallizing instead of healthy tooth enamel and bone tissue, is one of Michetti’s leading concerns.

Brittle bones are a result of skeletal fluorosis, which Michetti said is often misdiagnosed as arthritis. Dental fluorosis causes teeth to be spotty, discolored and improperly developed.

Other health concerns include pineal and thyroid dysfunction, reproductive difficulties, gastrointestinal irregularities, decreased IQ, chronic fatigue and bone cancer.

Michetti’s greatest concern is that fluoride builds up in the body over time. The effects of a lifetime of fluoride toxicity have not been properly researched, according to Michetti.

While fluoride occurs naturally in some sources of drinking water, such as those occurring near volcanic rock, about two-thirds of American municipalities add fluoride to drinking water, according to Walters.

First introduced in America in the late 1940s, fluoridated drinking water was intended to prevent tooth decay, particularly in children. Drinking-water fluoridation has been discontinued by many countries, but is still common in many English-speaking countries world-wide, according to Michetti.

Despite its popularity, Michetti does not feel that ingested drinking water actually prevents tooth decay. She points to information gathered by Canadian researcher Dr. Hardy Limeback who claims that only topical applications of fluoride can prevent tooth decay.

Limeback argues that officials must weigh the positive effects of fluoridated water against the negative effects, in essence asking if saving a tooth is more important than saving a life.

“If we continue to expose the population to fluoride, there is no question we are going to see severe bone problems,” said Limeback in a video presentation.

Dental hygienist Stacey Martin at Maple Grove Dental on Madison’s west side strongly disagrees. “Fluoride is very important for healthy teeth. There are significant differences in tooth development seen in children who drink well water as compared to children who use a fluoride supplement or fluoridated water.”

Martin said that undeveloped teeth benefit from ingested fluoride while developed teeth benefit from topical fluoride.

Boiling water does not eliminate fluoride, but rather concentrates it as the water evaporates, according to Michetti. Only steam-distilled water or expensive reverse osmosis systems can reduce the amount of fluoride in drinking water.

Therefore, Michetti is concentrating on eliminating fluoride from municipal drinking water as an additive. She said that people can further protect themselves by making unprocessed meals, not reusing water left in teapots and using non-fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash.

Those interested in learning more or volunteering to help Michetti with her presentations can e-mail or click on for updates and information.