Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
23 May

Dear Mark: Is Fluoride Safe?

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”…)



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!).

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. 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?

    Shane wrote on May 24th, 2011
  2. It always goes back to Weston A Price IMO,people in the past did pretty good without flouride…we live in a feedlot

    Chris wrote on May 24th, 2011
  3. 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 off to the concentration camps. It’s no coincidence that Prozac and a few other antidepressants contain fluoride.
    It’ s also no accident that most of Europe has now banned fluoride being added to water.

    Dave, RN wrote on May 24th, 2011
    • 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.

      Tim wrote on May 24th, 2011
      • 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 of fluoride and were experiencing severe health problems, and in some cases dying, as a result of exposure.[86][87] Initial water fluoridation tests were performed on the citizens of Newburgh, New York and took place from 1944 to 1956 as part of a classified operation known as “Program F”. With the assistance of New York Department of Health personnel, they then gathered blood and tissue samples from the citizens of Newburgh to test the effects.[87] According to a 1948 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association, mention of the adverse health effects of fluoride was censored by the AEC as a threat to “national security”.[86][87]

        Dave from Hawaii wrote on May 24th, 2011
        • 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 wrote on May 24th, 2011
        • 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 wrote on May 24th, 2011
        • 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.

          Tim wrote on May 24th, 2011
      • “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”.

        John Wernz wrote on November 19th, 2011
  4. I’ve also read that fluoride interferes with the pineal gland

    Katie wrote on May 24th, 2011
  5. 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.

    Katie wrote on May 24th, 2011
    • 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…

      Primal Palate wrote on May 24th, 2011
  6. 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

    CM wrote on May 24th, 2011
  7. 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, don’t certain minerals render others neutral?

    Like selenium does mercury, sulfur does arsenic, or something like that?

    I wonder which element neutralizes fluorine.

    Primal Palate wrote on May 24th, 2011
    • I believe either boron or iodine displace fluoride.

      Bella wrote on May 25th, 2011
  8. 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 we just need to make them want it by saying if they don’t have it in their water, their teeth will fall out.

    Since fluoride has been added to the water supply, the dental health in this country has seen a decrease. It’s the American way; layer one problem on top of another in a never ending game of Jenga. If people ate little sugar or carbs (I still agree with you on everything else)and brushed their teeth once in a while like they’re supposed to, we wouldn’t have tooth decay.

    Also, our mouths are extremely good at absorbing chemicals. That fluoride on your toothpaste could go right though
    the mucous membrane and into your blood stream.

    From what I understand, the fluoride is only an element, not a mineral, so therefor, molecules from it are made. The mineral fluoride which occurs naturally isn’t soluble in water, while the chemical they put in our water, is.

    Also, I’m not a big fan of the “A little is Ok, but a lot is bad” idea. Sounds like a Monsanto spokesman trying to sell me genetically engineered corn with synthetic herbicides sprayed all over it. If it’s bad, it’s bad. End of story.

    When people grow hydroponically or in soil for that matter (I do both), water quality is of the utmost importance. That’s why I use a carbon filter, but I look forward to getting an RO soon. Also, all that chlorine can harm plants (and your gut’s microflora),too.

    If we’re trying to live like our ancestors, why do we need this faulty chemical stew in our water? Grok drank from brooks, rivers and streams, not water from Britta filters after it’s been sent though miles and miles of PVC pipe (a toxic plastic causing hormone
    problems, contributing to the hypothyroidism). Besides, if fluoride is for our teeth, why do we wash our laundry, cars, hands, pets, and selves with it? I’m sure it’s not good for local wildlife being flushed out with our city’s waste,either.

    If I want my reverse osmosis or distilled water. I just take my glass gallon jugs down to my friendly neighbourhood Kroger and fill them up for 35 cents a pop. Frankly, I think finding pasture fed beef and free range eggs is MUCH harder. I know, I’ve been looking. And I live in Ohio.

    Sorry to act so critical, I’m really a nice gal, but when I starting reading this it just made me so mad I thought I’d scream and pull my hair out.

    Fluoride being good for you or not harmful is just another piece of CW we need to steer clear of. Remember, water is a BIG percentage of total body mass, choose your sources wisely.

    Rachel wrote on May 24th, 2011
    • “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

      Tim wrote on May 24th, 2011
      • Part of our history in school.
        Like you guys cover civil war…we cover Hitler.

        Resi wrote on May 24th, 2011
        • 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? :)

          Tim wrote on May 24th, 2011
        • Says the one who got Blitzkrieg’d…

          Nobody wrote on May 24th, 2011
      • “This is a bizarre anti-fluoridation conspiracy theory, nothing more”…Sounds like another sadistic elitist egotist.

        John Wernz wrote on November 19th, 2011
    • Amen.

      Nobody wrote on May 24th, 2011
      • Looking into this, I suspect people may be confusing bromide with fluoride. Bromide was used as an anti-anxiety drug in the 1800s.

        Tim wrote on May 24th, 2011
      • 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?

        Rachel wrote on May 24th, 2011
  9. 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?

    Lachlan wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • They most likely don’t drink tap water, no.

      Bella wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • I hear rumor they have their own organic gardens that their personal chefs personally prepare their meals. Except for George Bush, who likes bologna.

      Rachel wrote on May 25th, 2011
  10. 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 effects of drinking fluoridated water that affects health. Dental fluorosis is one of the earlier signs of fluoride poisoning, appearing in mild cases as a chalky area on the tooth, and in more advanced cases, teeth become yellow brown or black and the tips break off. Fluoride in the drinking water leads to fluoride levels in tissues and organs which damage enzymes. This results in a wide range of chronic diseases. Fluoride weakens the immune system and may cause allergic type reactions including dermatitis, eczema and hives. It causes birth defects and genetic damage. Fluoride is likely to aggravate kidney disease, diabetes and hypothyroidism. The amount consumed in drinking water has been shown to lower thyroid activity in humans. It also causes the breakdown of collagen which results in wrinkling of the skin and the weakening of ligaments, tendons and muscles. There are a number of ways that fluoride can be administered. The most insidious way is through the drinking water. Some of you have it in your mouthwashes, or in your toothpaste, or you may take a fluoride supplement which is dispensed in pills or drops.

    Fluoride Toxicity Cure:

    “A few years ago, I ( Ann Wigmore ) asked Dr. GH Earp Thomas of the Bloomfield Laboratories in High Bridge, New Jersey, to do an experiment for me. He placed a small amount of wheatgrass juice in a jar of regular tap water and he tested it for fluoride and other chemicals present in the water…

    Both of us were surprised by the results!

    He concluded, “Fluorine rapidly combines with calcium phosphate and other kinetic elements to lose its toxic properties, and harden teeth and bones. that is why fresh grass would act as a catalyst to speedily change the acid fluorine into a beneficial component with a positive reaction…

    By using wheatgrass, which is comparatively rich in calcium phosphate, it would remove any free fluoric acid and change its negative charge to an alkaline calcium phosphate fluoride combination with a positive reaction”

    I was amazed (Ann Wingmore )

    not only did wheatgrass neutralize the toxic effect of fluorine but it converted it into an ally in maintaining healthy bones and teeth! I don’t recommend that you drink tap water, though; pure spring or purified water taste better and is much better for you. But if you cannot obtain spring or purified water, pour a little wheatgrass juice into regular tap water, and it will make it more healthful…”

    Raw dairy also has high amounts of calcium phosphatase.

    Primal Palate wrote on May 25th, 2011
    • 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.

      Tim wrote on May 25th, 2011
      • 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.

        Primal Palate wrote on May 25th, 2011
  11. “Raw dairy also has high amounts of calcium phosphatase.” <— don't know why I typed that…had a brain fart …sorry.

    Here is the agenda behind Water Fluoridation:

    Primal Palate wrote on May 25th, 2011
  12. 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 flouridation. Often he would comment on it. (The water plant in my hometown is named after him).

    My connection to this doesn’t end here though. It was noted in the town records of Middletown (right up the street from Newburgh) that the Mayor conducted her own experiment. Former Middletown Mayor Gertrude Mokotoff supported fluoride in theory. She had even done her own little fluoride experiment. Her first two kids never took fluoride. When she had twins in 1955, she gave them fluoride supplements. The result? Her older children had lots of cavities. Her younger children had none. (from the records of the town).

    It doesn’t stop there either. I met her son Charles (Chucky) Mokotoff when I was 8 years old at summer camp. I think the problem is that people don’t want it foisted upon them. They want a voice. Nothing wrong with that, as long as the voice is the voice of reason. Think about what they put in water for sanitation. Do you think that you could drink water from a public water supply if there weren’t chlorine in it? Would you like to try? I was in Egypt last December. I saw the difference. Trust me- you don’t want the untreated water. You don’t want to even be exposed to it.

    Primaldog wrote on May 25th, 2011
  13. Fluoride is not safe. It is a toxic waste product of the fertilizer and aluminum manufacturing industry. The most widely used fluoride that goes into your municipal tap water has traces of heavy metals, including lead, mercury and arsenic. The exact components we’re trying to remove from the water. Great info can be found at Fluoride Action Network ( Also, this is a great interview with Chris Bryson, author of “The Fluoride Deception” And here is a stetement made by Dr. Hirzy at a US Senate Hearing back in 2000. Little has changed since then The addition of fluoride to drinking water is purely medicinal, and is in violation of our individual rights. What most people don’t realize is that they are also getting dosed with any processed food that requires water for manufacturing. Any of these products can also have fluoride. We are being vastly overdosed. Let them leave it in toothpaste and let people make their own decisions.

    Rudy wrote on May 25th, 2011
  14. Mark,

    it’s Mark !;-)

    I must say that the biggest issue –and a very serious one– is the displacement of Iodine by fluoride.

    My recommendation would be to steer clear of fluoride as much as possible and to actually supplement with Iodine (Lugol’s) instead!


  15. This is such a frustrating discussion. The whole fluoride conspiracy thing is pretty tiresome. Mark’s post is right on. In the scheme of life, water fluoridation should rank pretty low.

    Since so much commentary here relies on qualitative experiential data, I’ll say I credit fluoridation and conventional dental care to preventing any cavities until I was in my mid3ls with an incredibly poor diet….one that woukd put me in the top ten of a Primal Hall of Shame. I favor fluoridation until naughty carbs and processed foods are eliminated from the general population diet. If you don’t want to drink it, you can easily decrease your intake, but I think its time, worry, and money wasted for the most part.

    Greg wrote on May 26th, 2011
  16. Not enough alarmism here!!!

    An industrial waste product added to our drinking water doesn’t seem like a good thing or a minor thing.

    I am surprised no one here has mentioned the link between fluoride, aluminum and alzheimer’s. I’m too lazy to make the case here but it’s out there.
    Europe does half the water fluoridation the U.S. does and suffers half the alzheimers.

    I buy RO water at walmart. I think decades of fluoride ingestion combined with antacids and antiperspirants might be a big deal.

    mehitabel wrote on May 26th, 2011

    Evidently Alzheimer’s Disease came along after people started using aluminum cookware. Isabel Jansen, R.N., wrote of a simple experiment regarding the use of aluminum pots, where it’s easily proven that the aluminum and the fluoride content in water, both increase dramatically.

    Fluoridated water activates dormant aluminum

    “In January 1987, experiments performed at the Medical Research Endocrinology Dept., Newcastle upon Tyne, England, and the Physics Dept of the Univ. of Ruhana, Sri Lanka, showed that fluoridated water at 1 ppm, when used in cooking in aluminum cookware, concentrated the aluminum up to 600 ppm, whereas water without fluoride did not. (Science news 131:73)

    They suggested that because of the known fact that aluminum is neuro-toxic and is in abnormally high concentrations in the brain of Alzheimers and other neurological disease victims, including AIDS, that these findings raise questions about adding fluoride to the water supply of communities to reduce tooth decay….

    Because of these findings, a test was made of Antigo, Wisconsin water which has been fluoridated for 33 years. The water was examined by a certified Wisconsin laboratory, and showed that when it was used in cooking in aluminum cookware, it concentrated the aluminum by 833 times and increased the fluoride content by 100%.

    The maximum allowed aluminum content of water is set by the World Health Organization at 200 micrograms per liter. This makes Antigo water, when cooked in aluminum, 75 times over the maximum. No test was made of distilled water, as the Antigo Water Dept. does not dispense distilled water.

    mehitabel wrote on May 26th, 2011
  18. I have heard from certain sources that flouride has an estrogenic effect on humans, though I couldn’t pull a study out of my ass to prove that.

    If that’s the case, it’s just one more thing contributing to the emasculation of young American boys.

    If not, than let’s all build shit and blow it up!

    Laws of the Cave wrote on June 6th, 2011
  19. A little late on this thread, but the excellent podcast How Stuff Works has an episode on fluoride. Goes into the controversy and why we started fluorinating our water in the first place.

    Jenn wrote on June 14th, 2011
  20. I like the helpful information you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and check again here regularly. I’m quite sure I will learn many new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

    window 7 key wrote on July 21st, 2011
  21. As somebody suffering from fluoride poisoning, I feel it should be avoided at all costs, even by healthy people. I lost years of my life to severe Fibromyalgia only to discover the cause of Fibromyalgia is fluoride poisoning from the drug Cipro. ( for more info.) I have since begun a chelation program and my life is returning to normal. I recommend avoiding fluoridated drugs at very least (actually, all drugs). My family also tries to avoid all fluoridated water sources, as well. In fact, I can trace my more severe episodes of fibromyalgia to periods when my water sources changed. My experience is anecdotal but the research is out there. Save yourself the pain I experienced and avoid a toxic substance.

    Kelly wrote on September 6th, 2011
  22. Have you really researched the dangers of fluoride?Look what is happening to the people in India on natural occuring fluoride.They are being crippled and blinded by natural Fluoride.Do you know that fluorides leech lead/arsenic etc.etc.etc?Did you know about the calcification of the pineal gland on Fluorides?

    mary wrote on December 6th, 2011
  23. I’d like to add that since I’ve gone to a flouride free toothpaste, I’ve noticed that I’ve had fewer occurances of the makings of a sore throat. I’m sure the change in diet has helped, but it’s been nice to not wake up in the morning with that.

    Alessandra wrote on January 22nd, 2012
  24. The short answer is yes, water fluoridation is bad. The problem is, people refer to “flouride” improperly in conversation, which has led to much confusion to this day. “Naturally occurring” floride is Calcium Flouride. Whatever remote dental beneficial effects ever recorded are actually due to the calcium in that compound, not the fluoride (just like when you drink milk for the calcium, go figure). “Flouride” is just some compound of flourine (NOT flourene). So saying “flouride” by itself is nonsensical, since one should include the element(s) it’s bonded. Oh, and flourine is toxic and not found naturally by itself unless created by a star or in a lab using a lot of energy (the early scientist that figured this out got sick or died playing around with it… hmmm, must be good then for your health right?) . Fluoridation, or adding flouride to water, is not adding calcium flouride. It’s adding one of 3 types of fluoride compounds, all resulting as some byproduct of some industrial process as a waste (sodium flouride for example). Incidentally, these also had other uses such as rat posion, which is way the early efforts to convince people that sodium-flouride was a helpful water additive ran into a lot of trouble. If it’s poison for rats, how is it safe for humans just because it’s in water? Hmmm…

    Don’t trust your dentist. It’s outside their professional preview to assess the toxic effects of ingested flouride compounds in water. They only can give their professional opinion about what it does in your mouth. Period. Besides, dentists must march to the tune of the ADA (American Dental Association), and if they say it’s safe, then that’s what they tell you. Use the web to your advantage and read! Also, any benefits to fluoride are topical only, not systemic from ingestion. Again, why must our water by fluoridated then if it’s only topically beneficial? (even a resent CDC study points this out, but still recommends putting it in water as its conclusion). The ADA’s offical stance is that yes fluoridation causes dental flourisis (yellow staining), but that is a cosmetic concern, not a health one. So do you really trust your doctor as the best judge of it effecting your health? Flouride toothpaste has up to 1000 ppm (yes, 250 times the toxic limit to humans). Kids have died from accidently swallowing fluoride toothpaste or mouth rinse at dental offices.

    Water consumption doesn’t consider all the other sources of water with flouride we’re exposed to. Our skin absorbs water. How often do you take a shower, bath, wash your hands? Foods and plants that we eat are have absorbed water and thus flouride in nature. Processed foods may have been made with fluoridated water if it’s in their city water. All this isn’t reflected in the EPA’s recommended safe range of 0.7-1.3 ppm. But it’s known than 4 ppm’s is the toxic level for humans, and 1-3 ppms causes problems and onset of heath issues by itself. Do you think you’re at a safe level then just because the drinking water is .7-1.3? A lot of people probably have fluoride poisoning and don’t know it (check you teeth for white flecks).

    I didn’t include any sources for any of this because it’s all on the web folks, (and it’s off the top of my head from what I’ve read, so it may be slightly inaccurate, but not by much!). Do some research, read back to the original reports and erroneous ones from the FDA, EPA and CDC that stemmed from Alcoa’s early 1900’s efforts to figure out how to rid itself of it’s toxic sodium-fluoride industrial waste by “storing” it in humans through fluoridated water consumption, marketed on fabricated science. It’s a huge crime. How do you feel being a toxic waste site with two legs? It’s linked to a lot of health concerns that even doctors aren’t aware of or won’t admit.

    The MDA link to all this is that, no, you don’t need flouride if you eat primal, because you won’t have all the sugar acting on your teeth to have dental concerns if you just brush regularly with non-flouride toothpaste (baking soda for example). You just need something to act as an abrasive to help remove stuff on your teeth, that’s all flouride in toothpaste is doing for you. Live without it.

    Jeff wrote on February 23rd, 2012
  25. What do you guys have to say about this article from Weston Price?

    The article suggests that even smaller doses of fluoride from drinking water (0.1mg/L) could cause dental fluorosis. This article has alleviated most of my concerns, but I would still like some feedback.

    Pranay wrote on March 27th, 2012
  26. This is a GREAT video by Dr. Paul Connet; it def. explains the issue much more in detail. what do you guys think?

    Pranay wrote on March 29th, 2012
  27. For those who don’t know the difference between fluorINE and fluorIDE. It’s one electron and like everything else in elemental chemistry it completely alters the activity and reactivity of the atom.

    fluorINE can be stable in some configuations but when it’s hit with some ionising radiation like a UV ray the electron/s can be lost and then it turns into the extremely reactive, fluorine free radical which is so unstable & reactive it will steal an electron from anywhere it can to become the very stable fluorIDE ion.

    Where it takes the electron from is now electron deficient and will try to steal one from somewhere else… oxidative damage chain started. Stable in a test tube perhaps but not in the real world.

    Benny wrote on August 15th, 2012
  28. I see that many have tried to explain the science of fluoride (which I believe only 1 person got the chemistry correct), and many that mention studies that “prove” fluoride is harmful to our our health, but I wonder how many have actually read the studies rather than just believing a headline they read. Many comments are just repeating what has been read on anti-fluoride websites, which rarely do those sites provide any source citations for the claims they make. I made it my mission recently to fully investigate all issues regarding fluoride because, frankly, those of us in the dental field really don’t cover much on the issue during our education. I would encourage anyone wanting the FULL story on fluoride to read my article. I cover the science, the history, the controversy, the studies…everything!I’d love to hear what you think!

    Debbie wrote on September 3rd, 2012
  29. Debbie, I wonder why you still believe the people in power have your best interest at heart and really want you to be healthy and live long. They want that, of course, but with all the dependencies on their pharmaceutical industry. The problem with you people is that you try to go out of your way just to prove your masters are kind. You don’t want to be free, you just want to be a good slave and serve them well so they don’t whip you and maybe throw some leftovers to your deluded self. It’s not only about flouride, it’s about everything else combined that you can’t see. You use their studies to prove their point. You can’t think for yourself for you have been robbed of thinking, you only react to what they tell you. You don’t see anything wrong in this society, don’t you? Bury yourself in your fiction, for things are about to get “better” for you.
    Unless this world turns to Jesus Christ, who is the Truth and will bring knowledge and wisdom when obeyed, you are all going to be “destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6) for you are cursed: “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.” – Jeremiah 17:5 (it means that you trust man’s stupid false science rather than God). Search the word pharmakeia, it was in the Holy Bible long before the world devised the word pharmacy out of it (but it’s just a coincidence for you, this whole word is a coincidental utopia).
    How many of you have the character, strength and courage to acknowledge you were WRONG?

    Catalin Oancea wrote on October 9th, 2012
  30. I want this POISON out of my freaking water!! Is that too much to ask? Seriously.

    Emily Drew wrote on November 26th, 2012
  31. I recently went on a tour of the Louisville, KY Water Company’s facility and saw how the import and treatment process happens.

    I had a chance to ask about fluoride and was pretty shocked at how silly the process was explained.

    Basically, you should take river water, filter it, purify it and then distribute it.
    But, right before the water goes out to be available for people’s tap, they bring in TRUCKLOADS of fluoride to add to the water.

    The lady expressed a weird mood towards the whole situation and couldn’t give me any more details on the process behind adding sodium fluoride to the water beyond that.

    Also, it’s required by law to add fluoride to the water supply here. Just another brick in the wall some conspirators could say.

    I’m indifferent. Take care everyone.

    Evan Brand wrote on May 15th, 2013
  32. It really concerns me that we are putting something so toxic into our water supplies. Yes, many things can be beneficial in trace amounts, and toxic in high amounts, eg. Selenium,
    which studies show has cancer fighting benefits in trace amounts. However, fluoride has no known biological benefits at any level. It is a highly reactive chemical compound
    that our bodies have difficulty getting rid of. At least people should be given the choice, instead of having it forced upon them and their children.

    Here are some actual studies on fluoride.

    Sodium Fluoride makes bones more brittle in rats (at very high levels)

    Humans are more susceptible to F than rats.

    Fluoride lowers testosterone and increases male infertility in rabbits (at very high doses);year=2010;volume=3;issue=3;spage=148;epage=152;aulast=Kumar

    Children’s bodies accumulate F over time. They are unable to excrete all of it.

    Fluoride accumulates in the pineal gland
    -up to 554ppm in this study.

    The National Academy of Sciences
    -Bone fluoride concentrations increase with both magnitude and length of exposure.
    Fluoride in bones could accumulate from between 4,000-12,000ppm from fluoridated water above 2ppm.
    Because it accumulates in the human body, some people may be exposed to elevated amounts eventually.
    None of the research can show that fluoride is safe at any level, because of this accumulation.

    Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology says No to fluoride – because it is a drug
    Dr. Arvid Carlsson, the 2000 Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology and one of the scientists who helped keep fluoridation out of Sweden.
    “The addition of drugs to the drinking water means exactly the opposite of an individualized therapy” (Carlsson 1978).
    F is used in many medications to impair cellular processes:
    Anesthetics – (disrupts nerve signalling)
    Appetite suppressants
    Antimetabolites (chemotherapy)

    Accepting fluroide in the water supply is accepting its drug-like properties to act on your body with currently unknown effects. These effects however, can only be deleterious over time as the fluoride accumulates.

    There is no consensus among experts that fluoridated water reduces dental caries.
    Reasons for the caries decline: what do the experts believe? Eur J Oral Sci 1996
    The experts do not agree that fluoridated water is the main cause of a decrease in dental caries.
    The evidence does not support this conclusion.

    sparky011001 wrote on May 19th, 2013
  33. sodium fluoride is very toxic poison. The following lists the LD of 3 substances. (Lethal dose – the amount required to kill 50% of a group of rats/mice.)

    Selenium (an essential trace nutrient)
    Toxicological Data on Ingredients:
    Selenium: ORAL (LD50): Acute: 6700 mg/kg [Rat].
    -lethal dose

    TOXICITY: LD50 (IPR-RAT)(MG/KG) – 630

    Sodium Fluoride
    Toxicological Data on Ingredients:
    Sodium fluoride: ORAL (LD50): Acute: 52 mg/kg [Rat]. 57 mg/kg [Mouse]

    Sodium fluoride is about 12x more toxic than lead.
    It is classified as a poison.
    It has no biological cellular function.
    It impairs cellular function in every single cell.
    It crosses the placenta of the developing fetus, and at certain levels, and in all likelihood, alters their brain structure at 1ppm.
    -if it happens in rats, it is very likely to happen in humans.
    Humans are more susceptible to F than rats.

    Fluoride is more dangerous to babies and devloping fetuses, as their kidneys reabsorb higher levels of fluoride, increasing their total burden, which I iterate, accumulates over time.

    Placental Fluoride
    Fluoride readily crosses the placenta exposing the developing brain, which is much more susceptible
    to injury caused by toxicants than is the mature brain, and may possibly lead to damage of a permanent nature.
    U.S. EPA. 2011. EPA and HHS announce new scientific assessments and actions on fluoride/agencies working
    together to maintain benefits of preventing tooth decay while preventing excessive exposure

    Developmental Fluoride Neurotoxicity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
    “For neurotoxicants such as lead and methylmercury, adverse effects are associated with blood concentrations
    as low as 10 nmol/L. Serum fluoride concentrations associated with high intakes from drinking water
    may exceed 1 mg/L, or 50 µmol/L-more than 1,000 times the levels of some other neurotoxicants that
    cause neurodevelopmental damage. Supporting the plausibility of our findings, rats exposed to 1 ppm (50 µmol/L)
    of water fluoride for 1 year showed morphological alterations in the brain and increased levels of
    aluminum in brain tissue compared with controls (Varner et al. 1998).”

    FACT:Fluoride changes the brain structure of rats at 1ppm (over 12 months).
    FACT:Fluoride can cross the blood brain barrier.
    FACT:Fluoride has an affinity to aluminum, to which it binds and carries over the blood brain barrier. Alzheimer’s is associated with mental decline, and elevated deposits of aluminum in the brain.
    FACT:Sodium fluoride, a known neurotoxin is about 12x more deadly than lead. Babies and developing fetuses are much more susceptible to its effects.
    FACT:Babies fed formula mixed with fluoridated tap water are being exposed to higher levels of neurotoxic fluoride.
    FACT:Breast milk is extremely low in fluoride, even when the mother is drinking fluoridated water.
    FACT:Fluoride accumulates over time.

    FACT:IQ is *significantly* lower in areas of high fluoridation.
    Surely the following logic applies:
    -As the level of fluoride increase, IQ decreases.
    -As the level of fluoride decreases, IQ increase.
    -So, to a degree, you can influence your childrens IQ up or down.
    -By this definition, for the best start in life, a fluoride level of 0ppm would be required.
    -At 0.7ppm, who knows? Would you accept an IQ decrease of 1 point in your child?

    FACT:Japan tried fluoridation from 1945 to 1972. It caused an increase in uterine cancer, so they got rid of it.
    They found a significant positive increase in cancer that correlation to the time fluoride was added to the water.
    Relationship between fluoride concentration in drinking water and mortality rate from uterine cancer in Okinawa prefecture, Japan.
    -A significant positive correlation was found between fluoride concentration in drinking water and uterine cancer mortality in 20 municipalities
    -Even after adjusting for the potential confounding variables, …this association was considerably
    -Furthermore, the time trends in the uterine cancer mortality rate appear to be related to changes in water fluoridation practices.

    What levels of fluoride were used? Most likely 1ppm, which was the American recommendation at the time.
    “In 1945, Grand Rapids, Michigan, adjusted the fluoride content of its water supply to 1.0 ppm and thus became the first city to implement community water fluoridation.”

    In March of 2006, a National Research Council panel appointed by the National Academy of Sciences released
    a report of their in-depth research on fluoride toxicity, completed at the request of the EPA. This
    panel concluded that the EPA’s current safety standards for fluoride in water supplies are not protective,
    that too much fluoride at the present standard level of 4ppm (parts per million) can be harmful to health,
    and it recommends that the EPA lower this 4ppm Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG).

    Fluoride levels were revised down in January 2011 in the US
    “HHS’ proposed recommendation of 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water replaces the current
    recommended range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams. This updated recommendation is based on recent EPA and HHS
    scientific assessments to balance the benefits of preventing tooth decay while limiting any unwanted
    health effects.”

    Scientists keep revisioning the “actual” safe level of fluoride.
    -First it was 4ppm, then 2ppm, then 1.2ppm, then 0.7ppm.

    FACT:as more data comes to light, the maximum allowable level of fluoride continues to decrease over time.

    sparky011001 wrote on May 19th, 2013
  34. What about children using fluoride toothpaste?
    A child is supposed to brush their teeth twice a day, using a dob of toothpaste “the size of a pea”.

    “Because young infants and children under age 2 years can swallow most, if not all, of the toothpaste when brushing, there has been concern that the use of fluoride toothpaste containing 1,000-1,500 ppm F could give rise to enamel fluorosis of the front permanent incisors.”

    Science shows that low-fluoride toothpaste is associated with increased caries.

    Effects of Low and Standard Fluoride Toothpastes on Caries and Fluorosis: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (2013)
    -“Five clinical trials fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Low F toothpastes significantly increased the risk of caries in primary teeth.”

    However, the ADA (American Dental Association) recommends the following Kids low fluoride toothpaste brands:

    As a scientist who follows the advice of the experts, what do you recommend for children?

    -using a full strength fluoride toothpaste, which puts children at risk of fluorosis?
    -using a low fluoride toothpaste, which is ineffective at preventing caries?

    Either way, we don’t have studies (yet) that show what effects this ingested fluoride has on IQ.
    It remains at least a possibility that fluoride at 1500ppm will give them a “high exposure” to fluoride, which we know reduces IQ.
    Until then, I wont be letting my son be a guinea pig for this research.

    sparky011001 wrote on May 19th, 2013
  35. The real smoking gun (Convincing argument) against fluoridation of the water supply is that the same people that we don’t like, don’t trust, have lied to us repeatedly, and in general have shown themselves to be the worst sort of psychopaths…… are the most militant and demanding for fluoridation of water. …. the politicians, dictators, tyrants, & monopolistic corporations.

    John Wernz wrote on June 7th, 2013
  36. Citizens for safe drinking water

    Richard D. Sauerheber, Ph.D.
    University of CA, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92037

    AOA wrote on August 8th, 2013
  37. I swallowed so much tooth paste as a kid. I assume it was extremely bad for me. If I look back at some of the pictures of myself when I’m younger I look sickly, tired, and sort of emaciated in some of them. I was probably also malnourished. I was a bit chubby until around four or five when I started to lose weight and ended up skinny. I think my mom was feeding me less so I wouldn’t be fat. She’s also to blame for my toothpaste consumption because she actually encouraged it. She’d tell me when to stop brushing my teeth and say, “You can swallow your tooth paste now!” Sick and twisted. Evil. My teeth, when clean (since they tend to get yellow), have lots of blotches, a likely indicator of fluorosis.
    So I hate the stuff and don’t trust it and barely ever brush with fluoride. Luckily I spent most of my time growing up living where the water isn’t fluoridated, and much of that time I drank well water. I’d like to campaign against fluoride but Mark’s right, it’s not worth the stress, and I don’t have the time or dedication, and probably wouldn’t accomplish much, so I feel the best I can do is educate people a little about it here and there.
    Here’s some fluoride links.
    It’s recently been classified as a developmental neurotoxin by Lancet Neurology. I wonder how much smarter and healthier / better developed I’d be if I didn’t eat so much of it and whatever else is in toothpaste…
    Here’s how to possibly detox from fluoride.
    And curcumin may help prevent damage from fluoride if you’re exposed to too much.

    Animanarchy wrote on June 25th, 2014

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