“There is substantial evidence that fluoridated water, fluoride supplements, infant formulas, and fluoride toothpastes are risk factors for fluorosis,” alone and together, reports Ohio State University researcher, Dr. Ana K. Mascarenhas. And, too often, dentists and physicians misprescribe fluoride, she writes in “Risk factors for Dental Fluorosis: A review of the recent literature,” in Pediatric Dentistry, 4/22/2000.
In small amounts, fluoride, added to water supplies and dental products, is hailed as a cavity fighter. Slightly more ingested fluoride can spot children ‘s teeth white, yellow or brown, forever. It’s called dental fluorosis and it is increasing at alarming rates. Only expensive cosmetic dentistry covers it up.
“Dentists don ‘t know where fluoride ‘s alleged benefits turn into risks,” says lawyer Paul Beeber, President, New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation. “Dentists advise parents to monitor their children’s total fluoride intake. But how? What foods contain fluoride and how much? How much is absorbed or swallowed from fluoridated dental products? And what ‘s enough,” says Beeber.
Lesser known fluoride sources are tea, ocean fish, mechanically de-boned meat products (like chicken nuggets and baby foods), air pollution, ocean and shower mist, medicines, foods and beverages produced in fluoridated communities, fluoride containing pesticide residues on produce and grains and some bottled water without fluoride listed on the label.
Dentists and physicians are taught to never prescribe fluoride supplements to children who live in fluoridated communities but many still do, reports Mascarenhas. Besides, “there is substantial evidence for the risk of fluorosis from the use of supplements in fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas,” she writes.
That ‘s why the Canadian Dental Association and the Western Australia Dental Service no longer recommend routine fluoride supplementation.
Mascarenhas writes: “Dental fluorosis is a condition in which an excess of fluoride is incorporated in the developing tooth enamel (before age 9)…Microscopically, fluoride affects the forming enamel by making it more porous &.fluorosis is seen as white spots, or white opaque lines or striations, or a white parchment-like appearance of the tooth surface. The brown stains sometimes seen in moderate to severe fluorosis are due to the uptake of extrinsic stains mainly from the diet.” Enamel pitting occurs at times, she reports.
Parents should use ready-to-feed formulas or mix non-fluoridated bottled water into formula concentrate.
Fluoride rinses should not be prescribed to children below the age of six years.
Low fluoride or no fluoride toothpaste, if available, should be recommended for use in very small or pre-school children.
Care should be taken when recommending the use of these (fluoride) products in children below the age of six years (when their permanent front teeth are forming).
To avoid fluorosis, the National Academy of Sciences advises the following daily fluoride intake from all sources (food, air, water, medicines, and supplements):
* infants up to 6 months old – less than 0.01 mg
* babies from 7 – 12 months – less than 0.5 mg
* children from 1 to 3 years old – less than 0.7 mg
* children from 4 to 8 years old – less than 1 mg
* children from 9 – 15 years old – less than 2 mg
“We know fluoride is damaging children’s teeth but we don ‘t know how far fluoride is damaging their bones,” says Beeber. “It’s time to stop fluoridation and shut down the unrestricted flow of fluoride into our children’s bodies.”
National Academy of Sciences “Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride (1999)”
“Risk factors for dental fluorosis: a review of the recent literature”