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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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May 23, 2011

Dear Mark: Is Fluoride Safe?

By Mark Sisson
231 Comments

Today’s question addresses a contentious topic in the health arena: fluoride. It’s in (most of) the tap water we use, (most of) the toothpastes with which we brush, and even (all of) the teas we drink. It represents a bloody stage upon which skeptics and the natural health folks battle it out. Many in the Primal community would like to avoid it (as they would any government-endorsed hydroadditive) if possible; if it’s not possible, they at least want to know just how bad the stuff really is and whether its intake can be mitigated. Should we use fluoride-free toothpaste? Should we install household filters? Argh. So many questions and so few definitive answers… and here’s yet another. Ah, life!

Dear Mark,

What’s your take on fluoride? To drink fluoridated water, or to filter it? To use fluoride-free, natural toothpaste, or is it one of the benefits of living in a modern world?

I can’t seem to find any conclusive evidence on the web as to whether it is good or bad, and while I asked my dentist, I would love a second opinion. (his waiting room was full of posters advocating a “low meat, low fat diet”…)

Thanks,

Annika

I’m probably going to take flak for this one, but so be it. I’m not particularly concerned with fluoride in the water. While I’d definitely prefer it weren’t added to almost every municipal water supply in the country, I think we have far bigger fish to fry when it comes to health. Avoiding blatantly poisonous foods like grains, sugar, and industrial seed oils is the most important thing we can do, followed by getting adequate amounts of exercise, sleep, and sun while reducing or mitigating stress. Once you’ve got the chest freezer full of pastured animals, a good workout regimen dialed in, a source of pastured eggs you can rely on, the perfect sleeping position entrained, and you’re waking up without an alarm clock totally refreshed and energized, then you can think about installing an expensive reverse-osmosis filter for your entire house or importing Nepalese glacier water. Before that, I don’t think it’s worth the trouble.

But don’t take my word for it. Let’s look at the evidence. I’m going to focus on a recent report on current EPA standards regarding fluoride by the National Research Council’s Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology. Before you assume that these groups, being governmental bodies, are automatically suspect, note that the EPA requested the report and, in response to the NRC’s findings, has recently recommended a reduction in the maximum allowed dose of fluoride to be present in drinking water. They also suggest an optimum dose to be added – 0.7 mg/L – down from the previous 0.7-1.2 mg/L range. Currently, the average fluoride content of fluoridated municipal water supplies is 0.8 mg/L.

There is strong evidence that fluoride does offer protection against dental caries, but “the more the better” is probably not true and most recent reviews of the evidence suggest that topical fluoride (as in toothpastes, gels, and foams) are more effective than systemic fluoride. The NRC report references several literature reviews that conclude “the major anticaries benefit of fluoride is topical and not systemic,” and a more recent study finds that evidence for topical fluoridation is far stronger than for municipal water fluoridation (PDF). In fact, fluoride is most effective in the “post-eruptive” period, or after teeth have begun to appear, rather than as a preventive measure. As for systemic fluoridation? 0.7 mg/L of drinking water seems to be the sweet spot where cavity protection peaks. In fact, some studies show that as fluoride concentration approaches 1.2 mg/L, cavity incidence increases (PDF), right in line with the NRC’s recommendations and just under the average dosage in most water supplies.

Fluoride appears to become really problematic to humans in two scenarios: when intake is extremely high; and/or when intake of other important micronutrients and minerals is low and inadequate. The primary health issues ascribed to fluoride consumption are bone health and thyroid dysfunction, for which there is ample evidence – but that doesn’t mean the amounts we typically get from fluoridated water are sufficient to provoke them. As per usual, the dose makes the poison.

Opponents of fluoridation claim that fluoride makes for brittle bones, low bone density, and higher fracture rates. Proponents claim the opposite. The truth appears to be someplace in between. One study looked at different populations in China with different levels of naturally-occurring fluoride in the water ranging from 0.25 mg/L to 7.97 mg/L. Fracture rates increased at both extremes, with the lowest rates coming in populations with water fluoridation at 1 mg/L and the highest rates coming at between 4 mg/L and 7.97 mg/L. So, ultra low levels weren’t protective, l0w-to-mid levels were, while mid-to-high levels were definitely not.

It seems that, unsurprisingly, how fluoride affects bone mineral density depends on factors beyond just the amount of fluoride you’re getting. Calcium matters, for one. Rats on a calcium-deficient diet displayed impaired bone density and strength when given fluoride at 10 ppm and 45 ppm, while it took fluoride at 45 ppm to induce bone density problems in rats with sufficient calcium. Note that it only took sufficient calcium rather than supranormal amounts of it to protect bone density. Vitamin D matters, too; researchers induced rickets in vitamin D deficient rats by giving mega doses of fluoride (between 30 mg/L and 100 mg/L, unheard of doses that you’d never encounter in real life). Giving vitamin D prevented rickets, even though intestinal absorption of fluoride was increased with vitamin D supplementation. And it looks like magnesium interacts with fluoride, too. Magnesium deficient rats have more fluoride in their bones and teeth, and a magnesium deficiency increases fluoride absorption rates.

Iodine status of the organism interacts with, and sometimes predicts, how fluoride will affect the organism. For example, rats with sufficient iodine intake are able to tolerate drinking water with a fluoride content of 10 mg/L without negatively affecting thyroid status. At 30 mg/L, those same rats display reduced thyroid function and increased thyroid weight. If rats are iodine deficient, however, 10 mg/L of fluoride is enough to severely hamper thyroid function. Iodine deficient cows are also more vulnerable to fluoride’s effects on the thyroid.

Since we can’t give megadoses of fluoride to iodine-deficient humans in RCTs, human studies are mostly epidemiological, and thus not conclusive. That doesn’t make them any less interesting, though. Workers in an aluminum processing plant showed signs of fluorosis and thyroid dysfunction; fluoride is a common byproduct of aluminum plants, so aluminum workers are exposed to an inordinate amount of fluoride on a daily basis. 65% of workers with more than ten years of service at the plant and 54% of workers with stage 2 fluorosis had hypothyroidism, while 76% of the workers diagnosed with chronic fluoride intoxication (indicated by liver damage) also had hypothyroidism. In other words, the greater their exposure to fluoride, the greater their chances of developing hypothyroidism. The average intake for workers was 10 mg of fluoride per day. For comparison’s sake, most fluoridated tap water contains around 1 mg/L fluoride, so you’d have to drink 10 liters of tap water just to approach the amounts these workers were taking in. Another study actually tried to use fluoride as a treatment for hyperthyroidism. Out of fifteen patients with clinical hyperthyroidism, six responded well to fluoride treatment, with basal metabolic rate lowering to normal levels and the symptoms of hyperthyroidism abating. Although fluoride treatment was considered statistically ineffective in the other nine patients (most of whom had Grave’s disease, an autoimmune hyperthyroid disorder that isn’t really linked to iodine intake), some displayed modest signs of improvement nonetheless.

Overall, iodine status seems to determine whether fluoride will negatively affect the thyroid. Excessive amounts of fluoride exert negative effects regardless of iodine status, but standard fluoridation should be pretty harmless to the thyroid as long you get enough iodine.

They also looked at data on fluoride and various cancers, cognitive deficits, reproductive dysfunctions, liver/kidney/immune systems, but found nothing conclusive. Acutely elevated intakes beyond what you’d get from 4 mg/L exposure was linked with liver and kidney damage, but no evidence that normal intakes are dangerous. They also note that folks with renal impairments tend to accumulate and absorb more fluoride than people without kidney problems (since excess fluoride usually passes through the kidneys en route to the toilet). I recommend reading the linked sections, as they go over all the evidence and explain why it might mean something or why it might not. I’m not totally convinced we have nothing to worry about. There’s a lot to wade through, including some interesting cancer epidemiology.

What about other sources of fluoride? Fluoride isn’t just in the water we drink. It’s also in the products that use tap water, like soda and beer. It’s in tea leaves, with black having the highest levels and white having the lowest. Although one woman even developed severe skeletal fluorosis from drinking two gallons of tea each day for thirty years, tea consumption has reams of epidemiological and clinical evidence for its benefits that can’t be thrown out simply because of the fluoride content. Moderation is key, and longer brewing times increase fluoride release. It’s also commonly found in toothpaste. A pea-sized dollop of fluoride toothpaste has about 0.3 mg fluoride, while a larger, commercial-esque serving contains upwards of 2.25 mg. Don’t swallow your toothpaste (whether you use fluoride-free or not) and you’ll be okay.

Bottom line? Fluoride is a ubiquitous trace element that you can’t completely avoid, so to lose sleep over it is probably counterproductive. To wage campaigns against it and spend your days raging about it probably cause more stress and harm than they help. It’s in the food, in the soil, in tea leaves, in the water, and in any product that uses or includes municipal water. The best advice is first to avoid processed food, which you already do (right?). Next, eat lots of plants and animals to insure mineral repletion (while avoiding grains and legumes rich in mineral-binding phytic acid). Then, get daily sun or take a vitamin D supplement. Last, eating good Primal food means you’re avoiding the processed junk and sugary drinks that are high in fluoride. After that, I think you’re good. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably getting most of your hydration through real food, rather than gallon jugs of bottled water – so there’s another avenue of avoidance. To be on the safe side, check the local levels of fluoride (some naturally occurring water sources have levels far higher than the 0.7 mg/L-1.2 mg/L they add to water, so even non-fluoridated areas could be getting really high levels, which you do want to avoid) and respond accordingly. A reverse-osmosis filter, while expensive and somewhat wasteful, will remove fluoride.

It may be that I’ve been sheltered from water fluoridation – Malibu only recently got fluoride added to the water supply – but I haven’t noticed any ill effects, and I drink both tap and tea. High levels are harmful, but they aren’t common. One estimate pegs average daily intake of fluoride for a teenager living in a fluoridated area at around 1.85 mg. For non-fluoridated teens, it’s 0.86 mg/day. For people living and eating Primally? I’d wager it’s even lower and safer than that. You gotta look at the big picture. Complete avoidance of fluoride in all forms is impossible (and unnatural – remember, fluoride occurs naturally in water), so just make sure you’re good in all other aspects of health and let the chips fall where they will.

Did I miss anything? Are normal physiological doses of fluoride as dangerous as some people say? Is it all worth stressing over? I’m totally open to being enlightened. Let’s get it going in the comments (and I know you guys got plenty of ’em!).

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231 Comments on "Dear Mark: Is Fluoride Safe?"

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Dino Babe
Dino Babe
5 years 4 months ago

I was pretty annoyed when the state government suddenly decided to add Fluoride to our water supply a few years ago, seems we were doing fine without it up until then. Of course the population was not asked their opinion on the issue. And justification was – issues with dental health of the population. Apparently it’s too hard to encourage best dietary practices, so as usual we end up with a barely helpful band-aid fix.

Aram Hovsepian
5 years 4 months ago

I agree. This is something we at least should vote on. At any rate you can remove fluoride from your water by using reverse osmosis system. I did a video on this few month ago. http://clicky.me/3LxY

Kenny
Kenny
4 years 4 months ago

My water bill says, “You voted for fluoridation in 1968”. No, I was too young to vote then. I love my RO filter because the water I drink tastes like mountain spring water. Well worth the $150. If you can change a faucet supply line and you have a drill, you can install an RO filter. Remember, there’s worse things in your tap than the fluorine that is still wise to avoid.

Katie
5 years 4 months ago
I agree! It is frustrating when the choice isn’t even given. If people want to consume fluoride, that should certainly be their choice, but avoiding it should be a choice also without having to install costly filters. We “take the risk” of filtering fluoride from our water and using our own natural remineralizing toothpaste (that I make) rather than a fluoride toothpaste. I’m also careful to make sure my family is getting enough Vitamin D and beneficial fats from their diet to help prevent decay. And this “Apparently it’s too hard to encourage best dietary practices, so as usual we… Read more »
shannon
shannon
5 years 4 months ago

But what about our precious bodily fluids? Fluoridation is a commie plot!

Sylvie
Sylvie
5 years 4 months ago

I was just talking about the Dr. Strangelove claim that Russians are 70% vodka, explaining to one of my coworkers that he’s probably 70% RedBull. What a great movie.

John Wernz
John Wernz
4 years 10 months ago
Dr. Strange love was a great movie! I also remember very entertaining movies and other media events belittling… whole grains, gardening, small cars, yoga, voting independent, energy conservation, etc. Everything can be amusingly belittled, in media events or my those that are most comfortable believing what most others believe. Since I began switched to well water instead of fluoridated city water (several years ago) my wife and I have noticed how much easier calculus, physics, and supposedly difficult subjects are to comprehend. Although old, we are finding fluoridated acquaintances of our age range continuing to diminish in intellectual capacities. In… Read more »
Val
Val
3 years 4 months ago

Wise words- good for you. And yes, the jokes, shrugs and eyerolls get old…. literally.

Melissa
5 years 4 months ago
I never considered the harmful effects of fluoride until I figured out that my chronic cystic acne was caused by fluoride ingestion, a condition called fluoroderma. The level of fluoride added to most municipal water supplies is low enough not to cause a problem for most people. But fluoride accumulates in the body, so the more fluoride you’ve been exposed to over your lifetime, the greater your chance of having a negative reaction to it. I believe my fluoroderma was caused by the fluoride pills my dentists prescribed to me as a child (we had well water so I was… Read more »
Tim
Tim
5 years 4 months ago

You’re confusing fluoride with fluorine. Some pesticides contain fluorine, but none of them contain fluoride. They are both forms of the element fluorine, but are chemically very different.

This is the same difference as between chloride (an ion, found in table salt) and chlorine, an atom found in things like PVC.

Melissa
5 years 4 months ago

There are a lot of different fluoride compounds out there. Of course, even the fluoride added to the water supply is not pure fluoride. Fluoride is one of the most reactive elements, so even though we call it fluoride, we are rarely talking about just “fluoride.”

What I can say for certain is that my skin doesn’t know the difference.

Tim
Tim
5 years 4 months ago

No, fluoride is almost completely unreactive and it is not an element.

You’re still confusing fluorINE with fluorIDE.

PrimalGrandma
PrimalGrandma
5 years 4 months ago
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluorine http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluoride Since I grew up with the fluoride issue and it being added to our water supply, toothpastes, etc., I found the conversation between the comparison between fluorine and fluoride to be really fascinating. Like most people my age (I’m almost 67) we first embraced the addition of fluoride, but now as I read lots more about it, I’m not so sure — but that’s another forum. Anyway, based on the posts here discussing the differences between fluorIDE and fluorINE, I did some checking on wikipedia and came up with the above links. I guess you’ll have to come… Read more »
Miguel
Miguel
6 months 28 days ago
Fluoride is not an element, it is a compound. The element is fluoriNE . You can not get fluoride alone, it is always fluoride ions combined with other elements like Sodium, Mg, Al, Sr, etc. Fluoride is also reactive, that is why it REACTS with Calcium of your teeth and forms Fluorapatite. And that is why it is sold in plastic containers, NOT in glass, it reacts with glass. The fluorine ion in salts like NaF separates from Sodium and reacts with other ions like Calcium of your bones, pineal gland, teeth.
Daniel
Daniel
5 years 4 months ago

uh, sulfuryl fluorIDE is a common pesticide fumigant. So is Aluminum sodium fluorIDE.
Go to the EPA website, there are many uses for FluorIDE in pesticides.
http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/sulfuryl-fluoride/

Daniel
Daniel
5 years 4 months ago

uh, sulfuryl fluorIDE is a common pesticide fumigant. So is Aluminum sodium fluorIDE.
Go to the EPA website, there are many uses for FluorIDE in pesticides.

Rklmaj
Rklmaj
5 years 4 months ago

I also suffered severe and painful cystic acne around my mouth and chin. Mine was named “perioral dermatitis” caused by fluoride. I now use non-fluoride toothpaste, filters to remove fluoride from all water sources in the house, drink filtered water and refuse all fluoride dental treatments. No more cystic acne.

GymyGym
5 years 4 months ago

This is very interesting. Was it possible for you to try and isolate other variables that you may have though also contributed to acne you were having?

Where you diagnosed with Fluoroderma? How were they able to test you for this?

The Tooth Fairy
The Tooth Fairy
5 years 4 months ago

Does fluoride have any other role in the body except preventing caries? How does it prevent caries anyway? Is it built into the teeth like calcium?

Nobody
Nobody
5 years 4 months ago

It replaces calcium in teeth.
When your teeth demineralize, fluoride will fill into the empty spots. First signs are beige spots along the gum line on your teeth, those beige areas are usually spongy.
These beige spots (semi hard but brittle like sand stone) are not to be confused with plague.

Mike
Mike
5 years 4 months ago

I seriously recommend you read “Cure Tooth decay” by Ramiel Nagel, and how your teeth remineralize naturally with the right foods, based on Weston A Price’s research, before you advise on about how flouride “replaces cavities”.

Mike UK

ps: I last visited a dentist in 1989 (compulsory army checkup)!

anonymous
anonymous
5 years 4 months ago

And I am sure you have no cavities or any calculas that is causing heart disease, diabetes, or even bad breath! Ooh, you need to visit a dentist.

Katie @ Wellness Mama
5 years 4 months ago

A good book. I’d recommend it also. I just wrote a post about how teeth can remineralize and the natural homemade toothpaste that I’ve use to do so. Fascinating stuff!

Nobody
Nobody
5 years 4 months ago

It takes the place of calcium in teeth WHEN YOUR TEETH ARE DEMINERALIZING AND YOU TAKE IN FLUORIDE.

I have read Ramiel Nagel’s Cure Tooth Decay…and Weston A. Price…and I do take cod liver oil, high vitamin butter oil and i get A, D E K2.

I seriously recommend you read Cure Tooth Decay AGAIN.

Primal Palate
Primal Palate
5 years 4 months ago

Fluoride does take the place of calcium in teeth and bones…but not in the sense that it replaces it when you take in adequate calcium and all the rest that goes with building bone, as stated in W.A.P. Book and Ramiel Nagels Book.

It is being deposited into teeth and bones, making them brittle. So if you lack bone building materials, fluoride is being deposited into teeth and bone.

Fluoride does not “replace cavities” and I don’t think anyone suggested that it does so.

none
none
5 years 4 months ago
From a Dental Prospective – As a dental hygienist, I find it difficult to educate patients properly. I am primal in most all aspects of my life (of course I occasionally have a night of binge drinking at a wedding with a side of cake, or down a snickers bar after a long bike ride). I have read “Cure Tooth Decay” – it makes some valid points/arguments for a holistic approach to dentistry. And on the other hand, sometimes you just need a cavity filled or a good teeth cleaning. Unfortunately not everything can be reversed. I believe our tooth… Read more »
mamagrok
mamagrok
5 years 4 months ago

Anonymous, I’ll bet money that those ailments are correlational with poor oral health, not caused by them. Iow, they have the same root cause – nutrient-poor diet.

For me, fixing my diet got rid of cavities, stopped bad breath, and dramatically improved my cholesterol profile. Dentists are for fixing the problems caused by poor diet.

Eliza
Eliza
3 years 3 days ago
It effectively prevents the function of the pineal gland, the source of our consciousness and intelligence. ”Fluoride concentrates in the pineal gland and significantly reduces melatonin production. Analysis of the pineal glands extracted from human cadavers indicate a huge concentration of fluoride in the calcified deposits.” Harvard scientists reviewed 27 studies showing that exposure is directly associated with reduced IQ and said it was a “high research priority”. The dosed population think it’s good because the Newspaper says their pimp daddy does it to save you dentist bills. In Europe, fluoride was once prescribed as a drug to reduce thyroid… Read more »
Evan Brand
3 years 2 days ago

Thank you so much for this comment. I have had this topic on my radar for years, it still frustrates me that we are so far behind with proper education when it comes to this issue.

Can only educate those around you and search for local groups who go to your local legislators to make real change such as Portland Oregon. Great job!

Trelow
Trelow
5 years 4 months ago

I’m more concerned about the residual estrogen in our water supply. Still, not a fan of the fluoride either.

The Tooth Fairy
The Tooth Fairy
5 years 4 months ago

And how did Grok survive without fluoride added to his water supply?

Nobody
Nobody
5 years 4 months ago

Fluoride is a trace mineral and is present in lots of plants.
It is also in trace amounts in animal tissue.

Daniel
Daniel
5 years 4 months ago

yeah, arsenic is a trace element found everywhere, but it doesn’t mean we should be mining it, concentrating itm and putting it into our drinking water.

Tim
Tim
5 years 4 months ago

Selenium is a trace element too. Like fluoride, selenium is useful in small amounts, but toxic in large amounts.

As Mark said, the dose makes the poison.

Daniel
Daniel
5 years 4 months ago

yes, but you can’t control your dose of Fluoride based on how it is being administered. Formula fed Infants receive WAY more fluoride than they should have. This mass-medication with no control to the individual dose is the problem. I should be able to determine how much Fluoride I want to ingest.

Steven
5 years 4 months ago
I think Mark is right when he says in the overall scheme of eating, exercising and living correctly fluoride is a minor issue. (Ironically it’s often the people who haven’t addressed these aspects are the ones who are more concerned. Eg: a vegetarian who was concerned about estrogens in plastics, but was unaware of the phytoesterogens in soy.) I find it interesting that pro-fluoride websites only really talk about cavities, as if that’s the only effect, or the only thing that’s important. The reason that it’s added is because it’s an industrial waste product from aluminium processing. Businesses want a… Read more »
Daniel
Daniel
5 years 4 months ago

a minor issue for some, but not for the vulnerable people who need to avoid fluoride altogether. infants?

maba
maba
5 years 4 months ago

Just 2 days ago, the pediatrician asked me to give my 8 mo fluoridated water! I remember reading about fluoridated water being a scam on the WAPF site a couple of years ago, so I made a mental note to remember to read that article before heeding the pediatrician’s advice. This post couldn’t have come at a better time.

Kerryn
5 years 3 months ago

Many many quality potins there.

Katy
Katy
5 years 4 months ago

Well, you didn’t specifically address the issue with regards to children. We work a bit harder to limit our fluoride intake because of our children. Nearly every child in our neighborhood has significant fluorisis on the front teeth. My boys have none. With things like this, I always error on the side of extra caution when it comes to my children.

Alison Golden
5 years 4 months ago

I did too then we changed dentists and he recommended a prescription strength fluoride toothpaste. I reluctantly used it on them and the cavities stopped happening but once again, with kids, it feels such a difficult call.

Daniel
Daniel
5 years 4 months ago

cavities happen because of sugar and carbohydrates sticking to the teeth. Fluoride helps correct this problem, but the source is the carbs and sugars. The problem isn’t fluoride toothpaste, it’s the water. Systemic exposure through water is nonsense.

none
none
5 years 4 months ago

Fluoride in the water is only beneficial systemically when your teeth are developing. Therefore only beneficial to children. Toxic amounts cause fluorosis ONLY when the teeth are developing.
I agree with you, it is nonsense and comparable to dosing the water with baby asprin to help with HBP. Preventing problems that we know are going to occur, but not looking into changing the cause.

mamagrok
mamagrok
5 years 4 months ago

No, cavities are caused from the inside out. Sugar takes the place of the fat soluble vitamins that are crucial for use of the minerals in our diet, but there are other foods that can do it. Without any sugar or grains at all, my toddler’s teeth all but disappeared because my milk wasn’t nutrient-dense because *I* wasn’t eating a nutrient-dense diet. Correcting my diet stopped his decay literally that very day.

I agree with your comments on fluoride, btw.

miguel
miguel
4 years 10 months ago

The toothpaste is also a problem because everyday you clean your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste, so some fluoride is absorbed in your mouth, it goes to your blood stream and to all your body including bones and brain. You only need to eliminate mechanically the oral bacteria causing decay (and their food, carbohydrates), so a toothpaste without fluoride can do it.

Dana
Dana
5 years 4 months ago
Make sure they’re getting enough fat and fat-soluble vitamins and minerals in their diets. People don’t get cavities from lack of fluoride toothpaste. I haven’t used one in years and I have a grand total of two fillings in my mouth. When I do get cavities they are slow to set in. I haven’t been following my own dietary advice or I would never have gotten any. (I forget to eat for too much of the day and, at least in my case, that’s not a good thing–by the time I’m hungry I rush to eat, and you can guess… Read more »
Dana
Dana
5 years 4 months ago
oh and just as a point of reference I am 37. Full disclosure: I’ve lost one tooth to decay, have had both my upper wisdom teeth pulled and they were starting to decay at the time, and then now have the two fillings. I’m not sure how I got a good enough start that I am not worse off than that; my face is a wreck and I had to have two sets of orthodontic braces growing up. My palate is still narrow and my face is crooked, bad development all around. I remember eating liver before age ten or… Read more »
Katie
5 years 4 months ago

Cavities can also be related to dietary stuff. Have you tried a toothpaste that would remineralize without the fluoride? Also, check your toothpaste for glycerine, which actually blocks the teeth from absorbing minerals.

Liz
Liz
5 years 4 months ago

If no one has ever seen this before, some one with more patience for academia might find this paper interesting. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9118877)

The native Tibetan diet involves consuming copious amounts of ‘brick tea’, mixed with high-fat yak butter. (It doesn’t taste great, but it’s hot and filling). Everyone drinks this stuff.

I’m not completely clear on the findings of the study and I am too lazy to look for and wade through the full text, but I thought I would add the info to the discussion.

Brian Seitz
Brian Seitz
5 years 4 months ago
Teresa Magnan
Teresa Magnan
5 years 4 months ago

Yes, I think you missed something. The naturaly occuring fluoride isn’t the same as the industrial waste product from aluminium processing, I mean fluoride they add to our water. As I understand it, it’s like apples and oranges. That’s why people are upset.

Dave from Hawaii
5 years 4 months ago
As American Cancer Society notes: “Water fluoridation in the United States began in 1945, after scientists noted that people living in areas with higher water fluoride levels had fewer cavities.” Herein lies the deception…the scientists noted that the areas were their were higher water fluoride levels, were areas in which the water had higher levels of Calcium Fluorophosphate…a naturally occurring substance in certain geographic locations, that is indeed beneficial for human consumption. But the fluoride being put into the water supplies of most major metropolis areas in the country? That’s Sodium Fluoride…which is essentially a waste product from industrial aluminum… Read more »
chocolatechip69
chocolatechip69
5 years 4 months ago
Very good point, Dave. Unofrtunately, like the Dental Hygienist who left the comment at the beginning of this thread mentioned, it is very hard to break that notion when dental professionals are being taught something very different in dental schools. In my line of work, I often call dental offices and help them with hygiene product recommendation, and it’s upsetting to me how many of them prefer band-aid fixes versus getting to the root cause of the problem and using a holistic approach. On one hand, it’s provoding me with a job security at the moment, but on another, I… Read more »
John Wernz
John Wernz
4 years 10 months ago

“Calcium Fluorophosphate…a naturally occurring substance” … Dave, that was a great point to make concerning the differences between how people are benefited by one compound of fluoride and possibly not another. It reminds me of how nuclear energy proponents write endlessly how safe it is and then one person makes one mistake in a “foolproof system” and it turns into a Chernobyl or Fukushima” meltdown/explosion. With governmental and regulatory leadership as corrupt and incompetent as it currently is, to reduce risk, we need to just stop water fluoridation, instead of TRY to switch to actual beneficial fluoride compounds.

Dana
Dana
4 years 10 months ago
I’m pretty sure those Paleolithic-era people who only lost maybe two or three teeth in their entire lifetimes (which was most of them) did not simply get lucky and find a Colgate mine. We overstate the necessity of fluoride to health–it’s called a trace mineral for a reason, and I’m not even convinced it’s a trace mineral. We eat far, far less mineral in our diets than we used to do, and we are severely neglecting our animal-fat and fat-soluble vitamin intakes as well, with dire consequences for skeletal development and dental health. Until we get that dialed in as… Read more »
Ryan
Ryan
5 years 4 months ago

Teresa makes a key point here, the fluoride being dumped into the water supply is an industrial waste product that literally burns wholes through cement (http://www.wqad.com/news/rock-island-hazmat-water-treatment-plant-03242011,0,4540527.story). Fluoride has been linked to reduced IQ (see American population for direct evidence), congregates heavily in the pineal gland, causes bone issues, hypothyroidism, and more. Here’s some good articles on the subject. You have to go outside beyond government studies to get any solid info.

http://www.naturalnews.com/fluoride.html

Dan
Dan
1 year 10 months ago

If you ever took a chemistry class, you would know that an ionic compound such as sodium fluoride dissociates into sodium ions (Na+) and fluoride ions (F-). The same thing happens when you dissolve table salt in water. It dissociates into sodium ions and chloride ions. The two separate ions are NOT the same thing as the ionic compounds, and they don’t behave in the same manner.

Primal Palate
Primal Palate
5 years 4 months ago

I’d be more worried about Chlorine in tap water than Fluoride.

Also, tomatoes are naturally high in fluoride.

Daniel
Daniel
5 years 4 months ago

Chlorine is easily removed, fluoride is not. Most people, especially the ones who are most vulnerable to fluoride toxicty cannot afford to remove it. Even those who can afford to remove it, can only remove it from their drinking water, not their cooking and bath water.

Dana
Dana
5 years 4 months ago

Unless you install a whole-house reverse osmosis filter, which is hideously expensive and restricts the flow of water, making every household activity utilizing water more onerous and time-consuming.

chipin
chipin
5 years 4 months ago

You’d be better off harvesting rainwater.

miguel
miguel
4 years 10 months ago

Chlorine is bad in water, but fluoride is worse. Stomach produces HCl every day and that does not kill us but if someone drinks some fluoride, the Fluoride ion combines with Hydrogen (from HCl) forming Hydrofluoric Acid, which could kill even Rasputin, the monk. Fluoride ions are more reactive than Chloride.

John Wernz
John Wernz
4 years 10 months ago
I do harvest rainwater off the roof. 50 foot by 40 foot roof on a 1 inch rain yields about 300,000 cubic inches or 2000 square feet 1 inch thick or 167 cubic feet of water (Double check my math..?). It’s crazy efficient. I run it through down spouts through cheap wire screens and then through sand on cloth and into large containers or onto the garden or lawn. Do you realize how much water this is in a year!!! of this rainwater, what we drink we put through a regular pitcher filter and the well water is always there… Read more »
David Martin
David Martin
3 years 9 months ago

From what I could gather on the web, it seems that well water varies a lot from state to state and county to county.
I am in Oklahoma and the groundwater in Norman is claimed to contain natural arsenic, chromium 6, and barium – probably not in the top tier of water quality.
EWG has surveys that show which cities have contaminated water, but not which locations have the best water. I understand if people do not want to state their location on the web. Is the well water in your state relatively toxin free?

Resi
Resi
5 years 4 months ago

My Dad grew up in Germany and lived there his entire life.
The country does not allow (since after Hitler’s WWII experiment with fluoride on the puplic) Fluoridation of the puplic water supply.

My Dad has all 32 teeth with no gum disease and is 67 years old. He uses a german toothpaste (when he was a child they used regular soap) without Fluoride and never had a Cleaning done in his life.
Germany doesn’t do Cleanings.
I’ve also never met a german person with bad teeth…maybe crooked but never rotten.
All my classmates during Highschool had normal, white teeth.

Lauren
Lauren
5 years 4 months ago

Germany now does cleanings, and my German dentist is on me to switch to a flouridated toothpaste for my toddler. (plain soap!? blech!) Those white flecks on her teeth? Oh, they’re nothing to worry about.
But you’re quite right that Germans do not tolerate population-level interventions, including flouride.

Resi
Resi
5 years 4 months ago

Good to hear they do cleanings now in Germany…a check-up 2x a year sure would’ve been nice for me growing up.

My parents never took me to a dentist, only when I busted my front teeth and ‘needed’ a crown did they ‘recommend’ I’d have 4 fillings done on my molars to prevent tooth decay in the future.

I really want to slap my mother for this one and kill the dentist. I just found out about the whole amalgam vapor, too…been carrying those fillings around for 20+ years….those bastiches.

Matt
Matt
5 years 4 months ago

While I agree that we need to hit upon diet/exercise/sun/sleep ect I think fluoride is something to avoid and is a concern.

The fluoride added to tap water is by product of toxic waste.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLWk3cBnHOg

Personally, I don’t install filters or get water shipped in from Nepal but I do visit a local spring every month and collect my own clean water.

If we are concerned about getting clean food than I believe we should be concerned about getting clean water.

For local springs in your area check out:
http://www.findaspring.com

Resi
Resi
5 years 4 months ago
The following letter was received by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, Milwaukee Wisconsin, on 2 October 1954, from Mr. Charles Perkins, a chemist: “I have your letter of September 29 asking for further documentation regarding a statement made in my book, The Truth About Water Fluoridation, to the effect that the idea of water fluoridation was brought to England from Russia by the Russian Communist Kreminoff. “In the 1930’s, Hitler and the German Nazi’s envisioned a world to be dominated and controlled by a Nazi philosophy of pan-Germanism. The German chemists worked out a very ingenious and far-reaching plan… Read more »
Daniel
Daniel
5 years 4 months ago
Mark, I appreciate your attention to this subject, but I found your article horribly shortsighted and narrowly focused. The fact is water fluoridation is a radical public health experiment. There have been no long term studies to determine the safety and efficacy of medicating people with fluoride through drinking water. All of the science is incomplete and many studies show some serious concerns. Until, these concerns are fully addressed, there should be a moratorium on this practice. We are being medicated with no control over the individual dose. Many populations, including infants, children, diabetics, folks with kidney and thyroid problems… Read more »
Dana
Dana
5 years 4 months ago

Yeah. Maybe 5 percent of moms can’t physically lactate. Most of the time, problems with breastfeeding stem from inadequate support and instruction, or from the fact that it’s easier to nurse than to pump, but so many mothers have to go back to work.

And there’s a special place in hell for whoever invented fluoridated “nursery water” for babies. OMFG.

Dave from Hawaii
5 years 4 months ago

Hah, you’re telling me! I got my pediatrician trying to get my wife and I to start giving our baby fluoride supplementation. Like hell I will.

Lauren
Lauren
5 years 4 months ago
THANK YOU. I am so tired of people bandying this “many women can’t lactate” stuff around – it plants a seed of doubt in many women’s minds which, in the absence of a pro-BF culture, grows into another formula-fed infant. A cultural deficiency masquerading as a physical inability. If as many women physically couldn’t lactate as think they can’t, we’d have died out long ago. For that small minority who can’t, modern medicine has a second-rate alternative that keeps babies alive if wet nurses are unavailable. If you think municipal water supply has been one giant science experiment, look up… Read more »
Tracy
Tracy
5 years 4 months ago
As one who actually was unable to lactate (doc, la leche nazis all agreed!) please watch how you attack us! By the way, our tween son is very very healthy, gifted (all-around, not subject-specific), active and generally eats very well. I didn’t WANT to bottle-feed, we simply had no choice because he wasn’t thriving properly and I was thoroughly checked out by those who wanted to help me with the natural approach – not discouraging it. As a then stay-at-home mom, I had plenty of breastfeeding support and fully intended to do it til he was a toddler. Be kind… Read more »
Lauren
Lauren
5 years 4 months ago
Tracy I’m sorry I can’t seem to reply to your comment directly – perhaps a limit on stacking. My comment was about the casual comments that people sometimes make which gather into what is often called common ‘knowledge’. It takes a lot of support and determination – as you had – to overcome the whispers of that ‘knowledge’ when faced with the challenges of early parenting. Your situation is (was) exactly what I was referring to re medical necessity. There is a portion of the human population that this affects, and you eliminated other explanations before determining that you are… Read more »
maba
maba
5 years 4 months ago

Hugs Lauren. I come from a culture where BFing is the norm, I educated myself on BFing before my baby was born and heck, I started producing colostrum in the 8th month of my pregnancy. Despite my producing colostrum and my baby having no problem latching, there was so much pressure in the hospital for me to give my baby formula. I put my foot down and refused. But how many women out there would say no when the physicians/nurses insist their babies be given formula? Makes me soooo mad. “Low Supply” is a western syndrome.

maba
maba
5 years 4 months ago

But I do agree that formula is necessary for a small %age of the population who can’t lactate. If we had human milk banks, then formula wouldn’t be as prevalent as it is now. “Milk, Money, Madness” is a great book on how the formula culture became so prevalent in the west.

Resi
Resi
5 years 4 months ago

I’m afriad to look that one up…=P

Been researching everything else, conspiracy behind 911, Blue Gold, Cancer Cure and Scam, Pet Foods, Grains, MSG, and the list goes on…never thought about infant formula.

I’m a formula baby from the 70’s, never gotten mothers milk in my life.
Maybe that’s why I crave my Raw Goat Milk so much now…making up for lost times.
Ironically though, even though I was a formula baby I produce the enzyme lactase.

Daniel
Daniel
5 years 4 months ago

my wife couldn’t lactate and she’s a stay-at-home mom. Regardless the reason, the fluoride is the problem, not the formula.

maba
maba
5 years 4 months ago

Dana, I mentioned this above, my pediatrician asked me to give my 8 mo fluoridated water. Good thing I didn’t listen to her.

llwoo
llwoo
1 year 10 months ago
I’m in that 5% of moms who physically couldn’t nurse because of a malformation I was born with. It’s very hurtful to hear the judgement. Please, think of the 5% lol. But seriously… I think it’s probably more than 5 realistically because there may be other reasons. For example, a mom who can’t afford to stay home, can’t afford a $400 pump, and manual pumps don’t work for her. We all (or mostly all) do our best, it’s no ones place to judge. MOST moms know the benefits, so it doesn’t really need to be thrown in our faces all… Read more »
Torgeir
Torgeir
5 years 4 months ago

Well said!!

chocolatechip69
chocolatechip69
5 years 4 months ago

Very nicely put, Daniel.
I would go one step farther though in regards to brushing teeth with flouride paste. You do still ingest quite a bit of it when you use paste regardless of good you are about rinsing the paste out.

J. Stanton
5 years 4 months ago

All the same arguments for adding fluoride to our drinking water could be used to justify adding statins to our drinking water – and they’d be just as valid.

Just something to think about.

Since topical fluoride is far more effective than ingested fluoride, there are known toxic and deleterious effects from fluoride ingestion, and topical fluoride is trivially available in all toothpastes, I see no reason to add it to drinking water, and every reason to oppose it whenever possible.

JS

Dana
Dana
5 years 4 months ago

And you don’t even need topical fluoride. The whole fluoride thing’s a racket. Even if they really did find people with better dental health in areas of the world with more fluoride in the soil, you can get as much benefit from simply eating right for your body’s nutritional needs.

none
none
5 years 4 months ago

Some people can really benefit from topical fluoride.

Katie
5 years 4 months ago

Very good point- “All the same arguments for adding fluoride to our drinking water could be used to justify adding statins to our drinking water – and they’d be just as valid.”

I worry that its not unreasonable to think this might happen one day! I’d say that especially with a primal diet, there is more reason to oppose fluoride, as teeth will naturally be healthier and have less risk for cavities anyway.

Tim
Tim
5 years 4 months ago

They arguments also apply to adding chlorine to tap water.

Chlorinated water prevents most water-borne diseases, but comes with health risks of its own. These risks are minor (like the minor risks from floridation) but these risks are imposed on the community since they are far outweighed by the benefits.

(The main risk from chlorine are disinfection by-products, produced by the reaction of the chlorine with organics)

Peter St. Onge
Peter St. Onge
5 years 4 months ago

There is a world of difference between sodium fluoride (NaF) added to water and naturally-occuring calcium fluoride (CaF).

Murray Rothbard did a nice (thoroughly-cited) write-up on this, ‘Fluoridation Revisited’. In a nutshell, Alcoa ran a cynical PR campaign to convince Americans to dump a known industrial pollutant (NaF) in their water.

Dave from Hawaii
5 years 4 months ago

Totally.

Consider that prior to mass fluoridation of municipal water, Alcoa and other aluminum manufacturers used to have to PAY to dispose of their NaF by-product…because it was known as a toxic, industrial pollutant.

Now, they SELL their toxic byproduct to municipalities under the guise of “public health.”

Kinda like Big Ag supporting the food pyramid to get the public to eat “heart healthy whole grains.”

Tim
Tim
5 years 4 months ago

There is no difference whatsoever once you dissolve them in water. Calcium fluoride will separate into calcium ions and fluoride ions, while sodium fluoride instead separates into sodium and fluoride ions.

Since sodium and calcium ions are present in quite large amounts all natural water, adding a bit more of one or the other is not going to change anything.

I must say it is quite depressing how few facts are behind this anti-fluoride rhetoric, and how little chemistry the “natural bodily fluids” people seem to understand.

Peter St. Onge
Peter St. Onge
5 years 4 months ago

The concern is that the alleged benefits of fluoridation are actually coming from the calcium. In the case of NaF, there are no benefits to outweigh the toxic F.

You certainly know chemistry. Did you read the Rothbard piece? It’s short and a fun read, and he is a well-respected economist.

Tim
Tim
5 years 4 months ago

That’s an interesting idea, but most of the calcium in water comes from calcium carbonate (limestone). The paper

How Much Calcium Is in Your Drinking Water? HSS J. 2006 September; 2(2): 130–135.

gives an average of 50 mg/L calcium in US tap water, so adding 1 mg/L of calcium (as CaF) will change this level by 2%. This might be significant in low calcium tap water, but that seems to be quite rare.

Peter St. Onge
Peter St. Onge
5 years 4 months ago

Your point on limestone is exactly how Alcoa played the scam. Their mission was to associate something, anything, positive with F. So they looked for natural sources of CaF2, generally from nearby limestone, documented carie benefits, then used the transitive property to impute the benefit from the Ca to the F, thence to NaF.

Tim
Tim
5 years 4 months ago

I don’t understand, limestone doesn’t contain fluoride. Most natural fluoride comes from fluorapatite.

Peter St. Onge
Peter St. Onge
5 years 4 months ago

Sorry, sloppy on my part – neither geology nor chemistry are my forte. My understanding is fluorapatite is a Ca-F blend (inter alia). So, rewriting,

‘Their mission was to associate something, anything, positive with F. So they looked for natural sources of fluoride, documented carie benefits, then used the transitive property to impute the benefit from the Ca to the F, thence to NaF.’

Resi
Resi
5 years 4 months ago

Isn’t calcium carbonate chalk?

John Wernz
John Wernz
4 years 10 months ago

To Tim on your comments, “it is quite depressing how few facts’ and ‘how little chemistry the “natural bodily fluids people seem to understand.”…Notice that people that say things like this usually don’t have verifiable facts and their knowledge of chemistry is usually inadequate to make such condescending and authoritative statements?

Matt
Matt
5 years 4 months ago

Sodium fluoride when dissolved in water doesn’t exist as sodium fluoride, it’s ionized into sodium and fluoride ions. Which then mingle with other things in solution (calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, etc). In fact, some of the fluoride in NaF is actually in hydrofluoric acid form (a minute amount though).

This difference between CaF2 and NaF is rather silly and indicative of ignorance of the science involved.

Tim
Tim
5 years 4 months ago

Yes, this is a topic that usually brings out ignorance and anti-government rhetoric from the health freedom/anti-vaccination crowd.

But on the other hand, that fact that Mark rightly dismissed this foolishness is another sign of the overall quality of this blog.

Dave from Hawaii
5 years 4 months ago

Yeah, right.

So we’re supposed to believe that there is no difference between a naturally occurring trace mineral in a local water supply versus dumping the byproduct of industrial aluminum production into the water supply?

Tim
Tim
5 years 4 months ago

No so much in the chemicals, but a big difference in the emotive words you’ve selected.

I make decisions on facts, not fancy rhetoric.

Dave from Hawaii
5 years 4 months ago
Emotive Rhetoric and not facts? Let’s see who’s used “emotive rhetoric” here: “I must say it is quite depressing how few facts are behind this anti-fluoride rhetoric…” “Yes, this is a topic that usually brings out ignorance and anti-government rhetoric from the health freedom/anti-vaccination crowd.” Yet you call my statement that the fluoride used in public water works is largely the by product of aluminum production…”emotive rhetoric.” I guess “anti-government rhetoric” means the community of people here should just ignore all of Mark’s advice and go back to the government approved, USDA Pyramid based diet so as to gain the… Read more »
Ian
Ian
5 years 1 month ago

Tim, your comments are foolish. Even if fluoride was safe, there are many other toxins in the chemical wastes, they are not pure fluoride. And yes, there is a difference between naturally occurring stuff and man-made. I have read about a group in the Seychelles (I think) with 20x more mercury in their bodies because of all the seafood they eat, but they don’t have the same problems that are seen in the west where people have such high mercury levels. The reason? They’re getting mercury from volcanoes and not from some industrial waste. Get a brain.

Peter St. Onge
Peter St. Onge
5 years 4 months ago

The difference is whether, once the Ca is stripped out, there is any benefit to F. If the benefit comes from the Ca, then NaF has no upside to compensate for the F.

Resi
Resi
5 years 4 months ago

So, regardless if it’s natural fluoride or the industrial waste, what’s important is the amount, no?

We tolerate both in only trace amounts, right?

Matt
Matt
5 years 4 months ago

Fluoride reacts with the calcium in our teeth to form a fluorinated hydroxyapatite (a calcium phosphate mineral). It doesn’t need calcium in solution to function. That’s why topical fluoride works so well, you let the fluoride react with your teeth and you end up with harder teeth more resistant to acid wear.

chocolatechip69
chocolatechip69
5 years 4 months ago

Peter, thank you for pointing that out. Very good point.

Dana
Dana
5 years 4 months ago
If we accept fluoride in our drinking water, no matter how much or how little the government allows, we have to accept the risk that something will go wrong at the water company and they might discharge more than a safe level by accident. And accidents do occur. And furthermore I resent being made to ingest a substance if I did not consent to doing so. I don’t have a choice whether or not to drink water; if I don’t drink at least some on a daily basis, I will ruin my health and eventually die. And I am not… Read more »
chocolatechip69
chocolatechip69
5 years 4 months ago

I foresee many dental offices going out of business and companies like Crest and Colgate would be pretty upset if all of a sudden the public educated themselves on how to eliminate dental problems by changing their diet.
I guess I can say the same about conventional medical field and pharmaceutical companies.

Greg
Greg
5 years 4 months ago
Hi Mark, I think you are really taking the wrong perspective to this- essentially treating fluoride as innocent until proven guilty. The only sane way of dealing with health issues is the opposite- the precautionary approach. Things unnatural to human evolution should be proven safe. In the case of fluoride, every piece of evidence indicates that it is a toxin inside the human body. Sure, a healthy person can deal with moderate levels of toxins. But why are we going out of our way and being taxed to put toxins our water? There are toxins that are hard to remove… Read more »
Tim
Tim
5 years 4 months ago

I assume that since you say “every piece of evidence” you must have read Yeung’s 2008 paper. What did you think of his main points?

Greg
Greg
5 years 3 months ago
Yeung’s paper is typical of pro-fluoride evidence. It is sponsored by the other fluoride oddball: Australia, and reaches all the same conclusions of American papers. So unfortunately it has to be viewed with some suspicion. Europe actually takes the precautionary approach to health and doesn’t fluoridate their water- their analysis would be much more credible. In any case, this paper is consistent with the hypothesis I stated: fluoride is a toxin that would be reasonable to apply to *teeth* with toothpaste, but makes little sense to swallow. If they want the poor to have fluoride they should work with manufacturers… Read more »
rob
rob
5 years 4 months ago

You can’t spell Fluoride without F L O U R

Chris
Chris
5 years 4 months ago

Fluoride makes you not care what the government is doing. This article is proof.

Dawn
Dawn
5 years 4 months ago
Another great post! I have wondered about fluoride… When I was a child my parents distilled all our drinking water. To this day I have constant teeth problems (cavities) even though twice a day I floss, brush and mouthwash. Dentists have told me that the distillation resulted in the removal of fluoride and other minerals that we “need.” (We also used fluoride-free toothpaste when I was growing up). Whatever the truth, today I do use fluoride toothpaste, although I give my son who is two fluoride-free yet because he swallows it. And, I’m more concerned about water from plastic bottles… Read more »
Jennifer
Jennifer
5 years 4 months ago

Distilling water removes ALL minerals so your body pulled from your bones and teeth. Your teeth are bad because there were no minerals not just fluoride.

Dave from Hawaii
5 years 4 months ago

Distilled water wouldn’t be a problem if you eat a mineral rich diet.

You want all those trace minerals? Use natural sea salt in your cooking and as your table salt.

chocolatechip69
chocolatechip69
5 years 4 months ago

Dawn, I’m sorry to say this, but the reason you had problems with your teeth was most likely not the absence of flouride. It is true, however, that water distilling removes all minerals, and if that’s what you drank growing up, your bones might have very well been lacking in essential minerals needed. That in it’s own could have resulted in cavities.

SarahH
SarahH
4 years 5 months ago
I come from the opposite side of this argument. I had fluoridated water as a child and it ruined my teeth. I now have fluorosis which makes my teeth mottled and have soft pock spots on them. I’ve spent years battling my natural proclivity to cavities due to this, and my dentists even said that this was the cause whilst proscribing more fluoride in my diet. I moved away from fluoridated water and now used a baking soda/xylatol toothpaste and have noticed a huge improvement in my teeth. I still have to fight tooth and nail to prevent cavities, but… Read more »
Morghan
Morghan
4 years 3 months ago
I was the same. With fluoride in my water and toothpaste from the time we left our farm my teeth were quite literally falling apart. After switching to xylitol toothpaste and RO filtered water there is no magical reversal of the damage that was done, but it isn’t progressing past the teeth which were already severely damaged. Of course diet may be an issue there as well. Everything fresh from our own fields and animals, no pesticides or GMOs, lots of healthy fat… replaced by the typical American diet. I wonder how much fault lies with each, but I’m definitely… Read more »
misterworms
misterworms
5 years 4 months ago
I’m pretty sure that fluoride has zero dental benefits once ingested so I’m not keen on it being added to drinking water. It’s a great topical treatment to aid remineralization, however. Sure, it would be great if our mothers were so well nourished while we were developing our teeth in utero and if we grew up eating WAP style diets so that we wouldn’t need fluoride in the first place. But you can only do so much if the SAD was a part of your life growing up and you reach adulthood with wrecked teeth. Then, (topical) fluoride is your… Read more »
Dave from Hawaii
5 years 4 months ago
Lauren
Lauren
5 years 4 months ago

This is where most of us are, so it makes sense to think from this perspective in the short term and aim for the ideal for the future – like, when we’ve got two consecutive healthy generations to build on.

skeedaddy
skeedaddy
5 years 4 months ago

In an effort to consume the highest quality water at the lowest possible cost we recently purchased a Berkey water filter with supplemental fluoride filters. Compared to the amount of bottled water we were buying our break even point will be one year. Filter replacement cycle is three years. Better water at one third the cost.

Inga
Inga
5 years 4 months ago

I dont know specifically about Berkey filters but I know my own fluoride filter is only rated for 4000 litres and the first one failed after 4 months, or about 1000 litres.

I have a fluoride filter because my dog is fluoride sensitive. [Apparently] fluoride does something to digestive enzymes and his pancreas struggled to keep up. He’s fine now but we know the filter needs changing when he does that praying pose common in pancreatitis. We have a lot less vet bills now which more than covers the cost of the filters.

Nutritionizt
5 years 4 months ago
Water makes up over two-thirds of the human body. To focus so much on food while neglecting water quality is foolish in my opinion. Water is involved in numerous physiological functions, and to proceed without proper caution will only set oneself up for disaster. I’ve noticed that not too many people in the Paleo community address water quality. When a substance that comprises so much of the human body is overlooked, true health will never be attained. To avoid government forced pharmaceutical dumping, the best option is to opt for natural spring water from wild springs. There are plenty of… Read more »
Don Davis
Don Davis
5 years 4 months ago
As a chemist who did elemental Fluorine research and as a practicing dentist of 32 years, the comments and misinformation being given here is just plain scary. Water fluoridation has been THE most cost effective method for reducing decay, which is one of the most prevalent “diseases” in our population! YES(!!) ….if you brush and floss and minimize the carbs that feed the bugs that produce the acids that dissolve holes in your teeth, fluoride is of little benefit to you! But it is enormously helpful for the vast majority of the population ….at very little cost! Continuing research HAS… Read more »
Dave from Hawaii
5 years 4 months ago
As a chemist who did elemental Fluorine research and as a practicing dentist of 32 years, the comments and misinformation being given here is just plain scary. Scary? I’ve yet to see a few of you like minded folks rebut the basic assertion: that the fluoride used to fluoridate the water supplies is industrial byproduct. The studies used to show the supposed benefits of fluoridated water were based on epidemiological studies on populations for whom their water supply contained naturally occurring calcium fluoride…but the fluoride being used is the byproduct of phosphate fertilizer and aluminum manufacturing. People like you expect… Read more »
Don Davis
Don Davis
5 years 4 months ago
you are totally ignoring studies that have been done in nearly EVERY country in the world ….this topic has been studied to death! A YES there are lots of studies done where the fluoride was added in the manner in which you describe ……same result! the ORIGINAL studies were done in an aluminum mining area BECAUSE of a scare that the severe fluorosis (BROWN DISCOLORATIONof the teeth) seen commonly in that area was being caused by aluminum. Turns out it was the natural fluorides in the water from those very same salts.And those kids rarely got decay! By optimizing the… Read more »
Daniel
Daniel
5 years 4 months ago

40% of US adolescents have fluorosis. you call this optimized?

Daniel
Daniel
5 years 4 months ago
Your work experience is of little relevance. Chemists and dentists are not toxicologists. Dentists aren’t even taught to diagnose fluorosis. When they see it, they treat it as a “cosmetic issue”, when in fact fluorosis, is a systemic overexposure to fluoride. The same effects to your teeth occur to your bones. It is laughable that dentists, as a public servants, write fluorosis off. Your focus is oral health, yet you support the delivery of a medicine to the entire body without any regard for it’s effects to the rest of the skeletal system. It’s absurd and a horrible abuse of… Read more »
anonymous
anonymous
5 years 4 months ago

You have fluorosis because your MD prescribed fluoride tablets, because your parents asked them to. Why not just have your water tested for fluoride before adding more to your system, & maybe brush your teeth.

John Wernz
John Wernz
4 years 10 months ago
“but trust me” why should I? Just because you were a chemist who did fluorine research, and were a dentist?? Some of the most illogical people I’ve ever met were dentists. Dentists are the reason for mercury in fillings. Chemists are the creators of white sugar. My current dentist (Who is a great guy!) tells me privately that most dentists are arrogant, materialist, and self-serving. …and the chemistry teachers most of us had in college that couldn’t teach, or the chemists I used to work with that kept arguing that there is no advantage to organic foods, or the nazi… Read more »
Morghan
Morghan
4 years 3 months ago

The real issue here is the cost of avoiding fluoride vs the cost of sing it voluntarily. $1 for a tube of Colgate is a lot easier to handle, especially considering that homeless and low income service centers are always overflowing with toothpaste, than several hundred dollars for a filter and then replacing the membranes as needed depending on how much water you consume.

All drugs, no matter how beneficial they may or may not be, should only be taken voluntarily rather than forced on those too poor to afford avoiding them in the most basic requirement of life.

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[…] post by Mark Sisson […]

Tatianna
5 years 4 months ago

Hi Mark

I love that you include so much detailed information in your posts. I always wondered about fluoride. But I don’t think I am going to add it to my stress over list. Since I got to worry more about eating the right nutrition, getting enough sleep and exercise into my daily regimen. I do filter my water and I have a TDS device to measure it, I also buy fluoride free toothpaste, I am not really going out of my way since it’s freely available at stores.

Mia
Mia
5 years 4 months ago

I am not convinced the amount of fluoride in drinking water is 100% safe for someone with hypothyroidism, but at the same time, I’m not going to lose sleep over it. I just filter my water when I am home, and get on with my life. I dont bother with special toothpastes or anything.

Hannah
Hannah
5 years 4 months ago
I can understand the point you make, that for us healthy Primal eaters, the fluoride content is not a major health concern. However, I also feel it fully justified to object to the fluoridation of water on principle. Its level of toxicity is obviously dose dependent as well as dependent on the relative health of the individual ingesting it. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who have thyroid problems and such who would be harmed by even a small dosage. And there are people with messed up electrolyte balances or other concerns that mean they have to… Read more »
Carli
5 years 4 months ago
I am fortunate to have grown up without being subjected to fluoridated drinking water, and now live in Vancouver, one of the last remaining big cities where municipal drinking water is not fluoridated. I had very limited access to sweets as a child, was taught proper oral hygiene (including flossing) from a young age, and have always visited the dentist at least once – if not twice – per year. At 31, I am still 100% cavity-free, and have had no major dental or orthodontic work other than having my wisdom teeth extracted. I do use fluoridated toothpaste, but I… Read more »
Colin Bishop
Colin Bishop
5 years 4 months ago

Just one missed point:

Fluoride is accumulative! Now recalulate your answers because this becomes a vital issue especially for those with kidney impairment, diabetics and those with immune system malfunctions.

This “fluoride” is also classified as a poison, the bags say “do not ingest” and there is no regulation on the quality – it remains an industrial waste and an envirnmental pollutant – humans play an important role in the environment – or hadn’t you noticed?

Cheers from Australia where we are fighting this government madness.

Don Davis
Don Davis
5 years 4 months ago

Yeah ….and we are swimming in a sea of Nitrogen (gasp!) ….and argon (oh no!) and Carbon dioxide (oh my!) and when I drink water I’m ingesting Hydrogen (eek!) …….chemicals, chemicals everywhere!

Daniel
Daniel
5 years 4 months ago

isn’t it so cool to be sarcastic! Don, don’t be ridiculous.

Colin Bishop
Colin Bishop
5 years 4 months ago
That’s exactly how I rate him. I’m neither a dentist nor a doctor but I do have a qualification in Biochemic Medicine. I’ve studied fluoridation for about eight years and I still question why the dental fraternity consistently say “it is natural and it comes from rocks and is an ingredient in toothpaste” – why is it necessary to lie when it is natural and safe? Yes it does come from rocks but when it is subjected to extraction by powerful acids it changes its chemical “formula”. Why is fluoride extracted and why does it become a waste product? Why… Read more »
Primaldog
Primaldog
5 years 4 months ago
Hi, I thought I would throw in my experience with the subject of fluoridation here because I truly have a unique perspective on it. I grew up in Newburgh NY, the 2nd town to ever get fluoridation. It was part of an experiment on fluoridation back in the 1940’s. The town of Newburgh got fluoridation, and the town of Kingston did not. Of a greater note, my pediatric physician that I went to as a child was none other than Dr. Russell Scobie, the pioneer of fluoridation. The test was one of his many projects over his life to promote… Read more »
Ian
Ian
5 years 1 month ago
Primaldog, people have survived millions of years drinking untreated water. Force greedy industry to stop polluting, using chemical pesticides, drugs, etc. Then we won’t have as much disease. Fluoride can not prevent cavities if you eat soda and pastries. Don’t kid yourself that it was the only variable in Mokotoff’s family. Maybe her older children got formula and the younger ones got breast milk. Maybe the older ones were exposed to pollution more before environmental laws changed. Any number of variables can explain. My own experience is different. I brushed mainly with water and seldom flossed for ~18 years with… Read more »
John Wernz
John Wernz
4 years 10 months ago

My sister-in law’s daughter had perfect teeth. Her son had terrible teeth. Same everything else. This proves that we should put estrogen in drinking water to prevent tooth decay.

Kaleb
Kaleb
4 years 10 months ago

This is the most uneducated thing ive ever heard…Im a dentist and hormones have no effect on your teeth. Everyones calcium efficiency is different related or not…it about how you take care of your self.

Mike
Mike
5 years 4 months ago

How about adding motor oil to the water supply as a cure for baldness?

Colin Bishop
Colin Bishop
5 years 4 months ago

That’s almost as silly as saying drink sunscreen to protect from sunburn.

Louie
Louie
5 years 4 months ago
“To wage campaigns against it and spend your days raging about it probably cause more stress and harm than they help. It’s in the food, in the soil, in tea leaves, in the water, and in any product that uses or includes municipal water.” It’s in tea leaves, but we’re not dosed with tea; we choose to drink tea, if we do at all. Flouride is a non-essential additive to municipal water. Chlorine is added to disinfect, keep water safe to drink, and can be easily filtered out. Flouride, on the other hand, is providing nothing that good dental care… Read more »
Colin Bishop
Colin Bishop
5 years 4 months ago

Actually – there is one company that “regulates” your imported fluoride that is advocating just that but with the minerals magnesium and calcium – and if you know anything about “interactions” you will understand why this is not a good idea!

Primal Toad
5 years 4 months ago

My toothpaste and deodorant is equal parts coconut oil and baking soda with a hint of mint extract!

Mike
Mike
5 years 4 months ago

I’m somewhat surprised to see Mark take this stance. Sure doesn’t seem very Primal to me, either.

I’m fairly certain I have an allergy to fluoride. I used to vomit when getting the mandatory pink/brown toothpaste “treatments” on “Dental Health Day” in school. I was the only kid that reacted like that IIRC.

I’ve used fluroide-free toothpastes for years now. No problems yet. But I get choked up and puke-y if I use fluoride toothpaste while visiting others. I’m to the point where I’m going to just use water or baking soda in a pinch if I must.

Nutritionizt
5 years 4 months ago

Although I don’t advocate consuming fluoride, I appreciate Mark’s stance. Many here may not agree with it, but hey, Mark’s a person like everyone else with unique beliefs, thoughts, and opinions. To place other issues above fluoride, as he stated, seems acceptable. Can you blame a man for being honest?

If we agreed with everything Mark said, well then, we become sheep! Fluoride or no fluoride, these kinds of posts should make everyone do some more research to formulate their own thoughts on the issue.

Jaybird
5 years 4 months ago
This is why I keep coming back to Mark’s blog day in and day out. His articles are well thought out. He has done tons of research. Most of all though, the lifestyle he advocates is both healthy (and backed up with more research) and PRACTICAL. Mark isn’t creating a cult of a few extremely dedicated followers (well maybe a few). Mark is taking real human nutrition to real human beings. I have been both following this diet, and advocating it for my clients for several weeks now and seen both great results and adherence. This article is a perfect… Read more »
Jaybird
5 years 4 months ago

Furthermore, for those who’s comments reflect anecdotal evidence against Fluoride, remember as a blogger, your credibility is everything. Mark has to base his posts and opinions off of sound scientific evidence or he will lose his credibility in the scientific arena. If that happens the common man will lose a strong advocate for real nutrition. The government powers that be can just write us off as a “fad diet.”

Daniel
Daniel
5 years 4 months ago

it may not be an issue for you or mark, but the problem is that it’s being delivered to everyone without their consent and without control to individual dose.

“you would have to be drinking tons of water and tea, and swallowing toothpaste, to see any effect.”

That is completely false. 40% of current adolescents in the US have fluorosis.(CDC)
Fluoride bio-accumulates and is persistent in the environment. The longer we introduce fluoride into our environment the more we will see it’s toxic effects. It’s just going to get worse…

shz
shz
5 years 4 months ago

so what do we do about it then? because i’m not going to stop drinking tap water. i ain’t rich.

Ian
Ian
5 years 1 month ago

shz, you can get spring water for less than a dollar a gallon most places. You can also get water by eating food. There are people who suggest relying on foods like milk, eggs, fruits, and pure juices for water. The person who said you can’t live without water is wrong. People have lived without any drinking water and the body adapts to conserve water. People in the past didn’t guzzle water like people today have been brainwashed by big media and the government to do.

Nutritionizt
5 years 4 months ago
I agree. It is being delivered without our consent, however, it’s not beyond our control completely. While I do believe mass fluoridation must be stopped, we can bypass most of the effects by simply refusing to drink tap water. Don’t you find it a little strange to rely on the government for our water source? That’s surely not Primal. I said it before, but high quality spring water, harvested personally from wild springs, might just be the way to go. Of course, with all the dumping, fracking, and polluting that’s going on, our springs have the potential to become damaged.… Read more »
Tim
Tim
5 years 4 months ago

About 15% of adolescents have enamel fluoridosis (fluoride staining of enamel) even in areas where there is no fluoridation and water has low levels of fluoride. The highest levels of fluoridosis are in naturally fluoridated areas (38%), followed by areas fluoridated to the optimal level (26%).

See

“Prevalence and trends in enamel fluorosis in the United States from the 1930s to the 1980s.” J Am Dent Assoc, Vol 133, No 2, 157-165.

Katzenberg
Katzenberg
5 years 4 months ago

nm looked it up under google, ouch, some people can’t even stand up

Katzenberg
Katzenberg
5 years 4 months ago

how do i know if i have fluorosis?
is that something i can feel, or see? sorry new to this

Tim
Tim
5 years 4 months ago

Enamel flurosis (which is what the figures above refer to) is when your teeth have tiny specks of white in the enamel.

This isn’t serious and is usually unnoticeable unless you look for it.

mamagrok
mamagrok
5 years 4 months ago

I noticed it for years before I knew what it was. It started when I moved from well to city water.

Katie
Katie
5 years 4 months ago

I use one of these filters http://www.crystalquest.com/Fluoridefilters.htm

Really hope it works because it is super affordale.

Shane
Shane
5 years 4 months ago

Many countries in Europe that used to fluoridate their water have stopped because it has been seen that the fluoridated water doesn’t actually help. Fluoride only “works” when it is applied directly to the teeth. Otherwise the fluoride tends to build up in the bones and cause many problems later on in life. Also, there have been studies on remote tribes that had no form of dental hygiene yet had none of the problems we in the industrialized world have. However, once western food was introduced into these tribes, dental decay became rampant. Coincidence?

Chris
Chris
5 years 4 months ago

It always goes back to Weston A Price IMO,people in the past did pretty good without flouride…we live in a feedlot

Dave, RN
Dave, RN
5 years 4 months ago
Fluoride is utter poison. Take a look at the back of a tube of toothpaste. It has “drug facts”. Fluoride is considered a drug. So you are being given a drug with no without your permission. And THEN is says to call poison control if swallowed. Keep in mid the “dose” of toothpaste recommended, which is just a pearl sized drop. Swallow that, call poison control! I’ve invested in a whole house filter to remove all added fluoride. And don’t forget that Germany found fluoride very useful in Poland. It helped keep the polish population calm as they were sent… Read more »
Tim
Tim
5 years 4 months ago

Water fluoridation is not a way of pacifying a population, you’re veering off into paranoid fantasy.

Prozac contains a fluorine atom in its structure, it also contains nitrogen, oxygen and carbon atoms. Similarly, the anti-fungal agent fluconazole also contains fluorine, nitrogen, oxygen and carbon atoms. because these two drugs contain the same types of atom, you think they have the same properties?

It is the arrangement of atoms in a molecule that create its properties, not some form of simpleminded atomic bookkeeping.

Go and learn some basic chemistry.

Dave from Hawaii
Dave from Hawaii
5 years 4 months ago
Go learn some basic history. Read Wikipedia’s page on “Unethical Human Experimentation in the United States” As part of its atomic bomb research, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) sponsored experiments to test the health effects of putting fluoride in drinking water. Fluoride, which was a common byproduct of atomic bomb manufacture and of chemical manufacture in general, and was widely used as a rat poison, had numerous known adverse health effects at the time. The AEC was worried about lawsuits filed by workers at their bomb manufacturing facilities, and residents who lived nearby, who were being exposed to large amounts… Read more »
Tim
Tim
5 years 4 months ago

Your conspiracy theory was about the use of fluoride as a mind-control agent by the Nazis in Poland.

This quotation about industrial fluoride poisoning in America. Poland isn’t in America.

Tim
Tim
5 years 4 months ago

Oh, sorry. Two different Daves.

One of the characteristics of conspiracy theorists is that anybody who tries to point out reality automatically becomes part of the conspiracy.

Tim
Tim
5 years 4 months ago

Anyway, you’ve got the wrong man.

I was the guy on the grassy knoll, shooting at JFK with the Martian ray-gun I got from Roswell.

John Wernz
John Wernz
4 years 10 months ago

“you’re veering off into paranoid fantasy.”
…Are you an Elitist Egotist? Yah, show off with a little chemistry talk. If you really knew chemistry, you would know it’s not just some “simpleminded arrangement of atoms into a molecule”.

Katie
Katie
5 years 4 months ago

I’ve also read that fluoride interferes with the pineal gland http://www.fluoridealert.org/health/pineal/

Katie
5 years 4 months ago

In case anyone is interested, I actually just posted a recipe for a remineralizing toothpaste that I make (primal approved) this is safe for babies and those with thyroid problems. From my experience, it also helps whiten teeth and improve cold sensitivity. http://wellnessmama.com/2500/homemade-remineralizing-toothpaste-recipe/

Primal Palate
Primal Palate
5 years 4 months ago

Thank you for your link.
Been looking for a good toothpaste replacement for months but gve up looking.
This is a good one…xept I probably won’t use this weird sugar Xylo…

CM
CM
5 years 4 months ago

Fluoride is toxic to bacteria. It ruptures the cel membrane. So fewer cavaties makes sense. It destroys the bacteria that “eats” the sugar and carbo on yer teeth and thus cause tooth decay. It is toxic to humans too in highre concentrations. Nice stuff

Primal Palate
Primal Palate
5 years 4 months ago
Thank you Mark for this informative article. People seem to have mixed opinions on the toxic waste product in our drinking water but as you said the diet is what’s important before even thinking about changing water or toothpaste. If we all eat crap I don’t think it matters if you gulp toxic water down your throat on top of it. I drink only steam distilled water when I’m thirsty…but I do take Azomite red clay mineral daily. It says there are 900ppm of rock fluorine (F) in it on top of the other 76 or so minerals listed. Also,… Read more »
Bella
Bella
5 years 4 months ago

I believe either boron or iodine displace fluoride.

Rachel
Rachel
5 years 4 months ago
Ok, REALLY have to disagree with you, Mark. First off, I’m a little bit on the conspiracy theory side of the boat, but what’s the best way to get rid of waste? Dump it in the water! It’s a waste product, riiight? The Nazis used fluoride on the Jewish people in WWII to make them more docile and easy to control. Then after the war ended, the United States were so interested in mind control that they took these scientists under their wing. The result? Domestic mind control experiments (MkUltra). Ok, perfect. Waste turned into population controlling water additive! Now… Read more »
Tim
Tim
5 years 4 months ago

“The Nazis used fluoride on the Jewish people in WWII to make them more docile and easy to control.”

Who told you that? What is your source? A random anti-fluoride website?

This is a bizarre anti-fluoridation conspiracy theory, nothing more. See

Peter Knight “Conspiracy theories in American history: an encyclopedia, Volume 1” p264

Resi
Resi
5 years 4 months ago

Part of our history in school.
Like you guys cover civil war…we cover Hitler.

Tim
Tim
5 years 4 months ago

I went to school in Britain, and Nazi mind-control through fluoridation wasn’t in the syllabus.

Maybe it is secret history only taught in private schools? 🙂

Nobody
Nobody
5 years 4 months ago

Says the one who got Blitzkrieg’d…

John Wernz
John Wernz
4 years 10 months ago

“This is a bizarre anti-fluoridation conspiracy theory, nothing more”…Sounds like another sadistic elitist egotist.

Nobody
Nobody
5 years 4 months ago

Amen.

Tim
Tim
5 years 4 months ago

Looking into this, I suspect people may be confusing bromide with fluoride. Bromide was used as an anti-anxiety drug in the 1800s.

Rachel
Rachel
5 years 4 months ago

The history books in public schools change every few years. I haven’t seen many nutrition books telling the truth either. Don’t we rely on blogs and private write ups for our info anyways?

Lachlan
Lachlan
5 years 4 months ago

Flouride in our drinking water is not good period. However, I just had a though. What are the “evil” government people drinking? does obama not drink tap water? (in my case, Julie Gillard)

There are massive conspiracies regarding flouridation, chem trails and other things about killing of the population and making us dumber but what are the crazy NWO governemt politicians doing to protect themselves from these things? do they all drive down to the local natural spring to collect fresh spring water or wear hazmat suits when walking around in public?

Bella
Bella
5 years 4 months ago

They most likely don’t drink tap water, no.

Rachel
Rachel
5 years 4 months ago

I hear rumor they have their own organic gardens that their personal chefs personally prepare their meals. Except for George Bush, who likes bologna.

Primal Palate
Primal Palate
5 years 4 months ago
Ok, here is something I found quite interesting: HARMFUL EFFECTS OF FLUORIDE Fluoride is used as an insecticide and a roach killer. Even at the level they use to fluoridate your public water supply, usually at the rate of about 1 part fluoride for every million parts of water (1 ppm) by weight, it causes severe problems. As little as one-tenth of an ounce of fluoride will cause death. It is more poisonous than lead and just slightly less poisonous than arsenic. No one will die from drinking one glass of fluoridated water, but it is the long term chronic… Read more »
Tim
Tim
5 years 4 months ago

That chapter is chemical gibberish. Ions in solution exist independently, adding more of one salt will not change the charge of the ions of other dissolved salts.

Based on that excerpt, you’d be wise not to believe anything else you read in that book.

Primal Palate
Primal Palate
5 years 4 months ago

Also, they conveniently use the word ‘Fluorine’ in the Wheatgrass section binding with calcium phosphate…
Fluorine isn’t what’s in the tap water, the garbage that makes up fluoride is something totally different.

You may be right.

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