Q. We live in the county and have well water. I am concerned that we do not have fluoride in our water and my children might get cavities. Should we use a fluoride supplement? Does fluoride toothpaste provide enough fluoride?
The subject of fluoride added to our water supply is a controversial one.
For at least 40 years, we have been told that fluoride is good for our teeth. Some studies have supported this theory; some have not. Canadian studies have demonstrated that communities with fluoride had a higher incidence of cavities than those without.
It is well known that too much fluoride can cause a condition know as “fluoridosis,” which causes mottling and staining of teeth. Bones are also made weaker. So what is the answer?
Let’s first look at the element fluoride. Chemically speaking, fluoride is an extremely reactive element. It is also known to be a potent poison. It is a hazardous chemical.
Fluoride is known to be an enzyme inhibitor, which can suppress thyroid hormones and affect enzymes necessary for learning and memory.
Fluoride is added to our water in 1 part per million. Any level above this threshold is known to cause problems such as fluoridosis. And that’s not including other sources of fluoride, such as toothpaste and foods that have been watered with fluoridated water.
According to the July 2000 cover story in the Journal of the American Dental Association, any benefit attributed to fluoride is a result of direct application to the surface of the tooth and not the ingestion of treated water.
Another alarming fact is the source of fluoride. Fluoride is a waste product of the phosphate fertilizer industry. This waste cannot be dumped into water, buried in the ground or given away, unless deemed a “beneficial product.” This waste not only contains fluoride but also lead, arsenic and mercury.
As you can see, the fluoride issue is controversial. To answer your question, forget the fluoride and focus on feeding your children healthy foods, have them avoid sugar and soft drinks, and make sure they’re drinking water of good quality, without fluoride.
As always, it’s important to consult your dentist or dental hygienist before making any changes.