Concerns have been raised about fluoride’s lack of safety and efficacy.
Sources of human exposure to the chemical fluoride have drastically increased since community water fluoridation began in the U.S. in the 1940’s. In addition to water, these sources now include food, air, soil, pesticides, fertilizers, dental products used at home and in the dental office, pharmaceutical drugs, cookware (non-stick Teflon), clothing, carpeting, and an array of other consumer items used on a regular basis. Click here to see a detailed list of sources of fluoride exposure.
Exposure to fluoride is suspected of impacting every part of the human body. Susceptible subpopulations, such as infants, children, and individuals with diabetes or renal problems, are known to be more severely impacted by intake of fluoride.
A lack of efficacy, lack of evidence, and lack of ethics are apparent in the current status quo of fluoride usage. These circumstances clearly demonstrate that there is an alarming lack of safety for the numerous applications of the chemical fluoride in commonly used products.
First, it should also be noted that fluoride is not an essential component for human growth and development. Second, fluoride has been recognized as one of 12 industrial chemicals known to cause developmental neurotoxicity in human beings. Third, some researchers have questioned the safety of fluoride.
Additionally, this chemical’s effectiveness in preventing tooth decay when it is ingested (such as through a water source) has been challenged. In fact, reports show that as industrialized countries were developing, decay rates in the general population rose to a peak of four to eight decayed, missing, or filled teeth (in the 1960’s). Then, reports show a dramatic decrease (down to today’s levels), regardless of fluoride use.
Controversy has also arisen over industrial ties to the chemical fluoride. Safety advocates for fluoride exposures have questioned if such industrial ties are ethical and if the industrial connections to these chemicals might result in a cover-up of the health effects caused by fluoride exposures.
Based on the alarming lack of safety for this chemical, informed consumer consent is needed for all uses of fluoride. This pertains to water fluoridation, as well as all dental-based products, whether administered at home or in the dental office.
In addition to the imperative need for informed consumer consent, education about this chemical is likewise essential. Providing education about fluoride risks and fluoride toxicity to medical and dental professionals, medical and dental students, consumers, and policy makers is crucial to improving the safety of public health.
There are fluoride-free options available for all of the dental products you use at home, but you have to be sure to check
the product labeling.
There are fluoride-free strategies in which to prevent dental caries. Given the current levels of exposure, policies should reduce and work toward eliminating avoidable sources of fluoride, including water fluoridation, fluoride-containing dental materials, and other fluoridated products, as means to promote dental and overall health.