(By Dr. Joseph D. Lim and Dr. Kenneth Lester Lim, BS-MMG, DDM, MSc-OI)
FLUORIDE in water may cause neurotoxic harm.
Water fluoridation is not done in the Philippines. In other countries, such as the United States, it is a long-established public health policy of adding fluoride to drinking water to fight tooth decay. (Toothpaste sold in the Philippines may contain fluoride.)
Now, fluoridation is being questioned because of fluoride’s possible effect on brain development.
Many foods and drinks today contain fluoride. Together with fluoridated water, it could amount to harmful exposure levels.
The National Toxicology Program (NTP), a research agency in the United States, has released a report which is unclear about the link between typical levels of fluoride added to water and possible harm to brain development.
The NTP is composed of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC).
The NTP report recommends further studies.
The NTP report, however, found a possible link to cognitive harm at approximately two times the current recommended water fluoridation level. At that level, current water fluoridation in the United States may be potentially unsafe for developing fetuses and young children.
Previous research suggests that exposure to fluoride may cause IQ loss and a higher prevalence of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children.
The NTP report reviewed studies that show a possible association between fluoridated water and cognitive harm in children. The report has been peer reviewed twice by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine as well as five experts.
Because of its role in preventing tooth decay by 25 percent, water fluoridation is described as one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. In the United States, about seven in 10 people or more than 200 million Americans are connected with community water systems that have fluoridated water. That’s a bit shy of two-thirds of the American population.
The US Environmental Protection Agency puts a limit to fluoride in drinking water at 4 parts per million (ppm); the level was established for naturally occurring fluoride. The US CDC uses a non-enforceable guideline of 0.7 ppm as a safe level to counter problems like dental fluorosis, a condition when the appearance of tooth enamel changes.
The NTP report found a possible statistical association with cognitive harm and fluoridated water exposure at approximately 1.5 ppm and above. This level is not safely low enough because fluoride can also be found in common foods and drinks such as tea, coffee, canned shellfish, as well as oatmeal, raisins and potatoes.
Dr. Joseph D. Lim, Ed. D., is the former Associate Dean of the College of Dentistry, University of the East; former Dean, College of Dentistry, National University; Past President and Honorary Fellow of the Asian Oral Implant Academy; Honorary Fellow of the Japan College of Oral Implantologists; Honorary Life Member of the Thai Association of Dental Implantology; and Founding Chairman of the Philippine College of Oral Implantologists. For questions on dental health, e-mail email@example.com or text 0917-8591515.
Dr. Kenneth Lester Lim, BS-MMG, DDM, MSc-OI, graduated Doctor of Dental Medicine, University of the Philippines, College of Dentistry, Manila, 2011; Bachelor of Science in Marketing Management, De la Salle University, Manila, 2002; and Master of Science (MSc.) in Oral Implantology, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany, 2019. He is an Associate Professor; Fellow, International Congress of Oral Implantologists; Member, American Academy of Implant Dentistry and Fellow, Philippine College of Oral Implantologists. For questions on dental health, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org./
*Original full-text article online at: https://www.panaynews.net/fluoride-and-iq/