Fluoride De-Mystified

Fluoride De-Mystified

Fluoride has been a substance that has been in our everyday life, here in the US, since the 1940s. The major push was after a 1930s study that found that communities that had a higher instance of fluoride in their drinking water had about two thirds fewer cavities when compared against communities with lower levels of fluoride in their drinking water.

Fluoride is a naturally occurring substance, the thirteenth most abundant mineral compound found on our planet. In seawater you can find it in as high of a concentration of 1.3 ppm (parts per million). Where fresh water typically ranges from between 0.01 and .3 ppm. This particular form of fluoride is calcium fluoride (CaF2) which is an insoluble compound, which is what is found in naturally occurring waters. This form of fluoride is also found in grasses, and in animal bones and teeth. This is not the compound which is added to municipal drinking water, however.

According to Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2004 endorsed by NATIONAL HEALTH AND MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL:

Hydrofluorosilicic acid is used to artificially fluoridate water. Hydrofluorosilicic acid, H2SiF6 (also known as fluorosilicic acid, hexafluorosilicic acid), is a colourless to pale yellow liquid, poisonous and corrosive, with a pungent odour and irritating fumes. It can etch glass.

Hydrofluorosilicic acid is a byproduct of the preparation of chemical fertilizers from phosphate rock. The rock is ground up and treated with sulphuric acid, forming a gas byproduct, which then reacts with water to produce a weak acid. This hydrofluorosilicic acid solution is subsequently concentrated to strengths of up to 30%. Manufacture of hydrofluorosilicic acid is limited, but because the acid is a byproduct of the agricultural industry, it is generally readily available in Australia.

Chemical contaminants that may occur in hydrofluorosilicic acid solutions include inorganic and organic substances, and the following chemicals:
Arsenic
Cadmium
Lead
The concentrations of contaminants depend on the purity of the raw materials used in fertilizer production.

Here we find the government guidelines of a major world power recognize that fluoride is a hazardous chemical. Yet, may communities in the world still choose to add this chemical to their drinking water in the name of healthier teeth.

The justification for this use can be found in much of the information available from the EPA, the ADA, and companies like Colgate. As we talk about teeth and tooth health, we find that fluoride aids in the hardening of the enamel of teeth. There is a process that naturally occurs where acidic saliva will begin breaking down the enamel of our teeth, referred to as demineralization. The saliva begins breaking down the calcium and phosphorous under the tooth’s surface.

When your saliva is less acidic then a process of remineralization takes place where the calcium and phosphorous is replaced in your teeth hardening them. When fluoride is present during this process the deposits become harder. This is the justification of making fluoride more prevalent in our water supply.

Since the 1930 study which brought fluoride to the attention of the ADA, fluoride and its study has been the purview of the Dentistry profession. This means that studies have not looked beyond the value to the health of teeth and the mouth.

There is, however, a problem with this unregulated dosing of a chemical upon the population, which is called dental fluorosis. This is where someone is getting so much fluoride that their teeth become spotted and weak. If you have ever looked at your teeth and found spots or streaks of whiter parts than others, then you may have mild dental fluorosis. Where are molted teeth, with darker and lighter spots, as well as pitting, are indications of sever dental fluorosis. While the ADA and companies that make products with fluoride will say this is simply a cosmetic issue, it can indicate a deeper issue of fluoride toxicity.

The teeth are the window to the bones, since they are made of similar structures. When you look at someone’s teeth, you can gage the health of their skeletal structure. (Ever wonder why horse traders look at teeth? Here is part of the answer.)

There is a disease called Skeletal fluorosis which is a bone disease caused by too much fluoride. In severe cases, there is damage to bones and joints as well as pain. High Fluorine concentrations in the body lead to hardened and less elastic bones, which increases the risk of fractures. This is of primary concern to the elderly, as an increase in the likelihood of hip fracture is often a life threatening issue.

There are other possible complications, ranging form hypothyroidism to the lowering of the IQ of developing children that may be directly related to fluoride. As more research is done, we are finding more and more reasons why this may not be the great health benefit we’ve been lead to believe.

Written By: Iam Bloom