Fluoride Affects Many Tissues in Your Body Besides Your Teeth
Fluoride has been controversial since its introduction, and consistent debates have existed on whether or not it’s truly safe as an ingredient used in toothpastes and other dentifrices. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, researchers have made a few things clear, namely, that the increased sources of fluoride exposure are accompanied by increased human health risks and that efforts are required to eliminate avoidable sources of fluoride exposure, including fluoridated toothpastes and other fluoridated products.
While many studies have demonstrated harmful effects of too much fluoride on teeth and bones, little is known about its devastating effects on the rest of the body. But, new evidences have emerged that demonstrate fluoride’s adverse effects on just about every organ in the body. For example, findings from a 2018 study indicate that exposure to high fluoride levels can possibly induce progressive deterioration of kidney function.1
Even a ‘pea-sized’ portion of fluoridated toothpaste weighs approximately 0.75 g and contains about 0.4 mg of fluoride. Depending on the regimen followed, brushing your teeth twice a day would deliver you 0.8 – 2.0 mg of fluoride. If swallowed, the amount of fluoride could be excessive and may affect many tissues in your body.2
Dr. XYZ (Dentist) fully acknowledges that consumption of fluoride in excess is a double-edged sword. ”Prolong ingestion of fluoride can make the teeth so brittle that they can be treated only with difficulty. Above a threshold concentration, its negative effects are also evident on the cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and endocrine functions. The damage fluoride does is far greater than any good it may appear to accomplish. You definitely shouldn’t be swallowing it anyway, “he notes 3,4
Fluoride has the capability to be toxic to many organ systems
In the human body, fluoride is mainly absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract. It transports into the bloodstream and easily reaches almost every organ. As a result, ingestion of fluoride causes many diverse toxic symptoms.5
One of the major targets for fluoride accumulation is the pineal gland. Fluoride is especially toxic to the pineal gland, where it accumulates and eventually, leads to calcification. Studies have shown that its damaging effect on sexual functions only begins here. In females, calcified deposits in the pineal gland lead to accelerated sexual maturation and early puberty. Not only this, the sleep-wake cycles also get impaired, bringing other adverse health outcomes.
The thyroid gland is another tissue in the human body which is most sensitive to fluoride. Fluoride gets easily absorbed and accumulated in the thyroid gland, inducing dysfunctions and structural changes in it. Ingestion of fluoride also stimulates the parathyroid glands causing secondary hyperparathyroidism, and this, in turn, leads to bone loss. Diseases like hypertension, arteriosclerosis, degenerative neurological disease, diabetes and osteoporosis may be caused due to secondary hyperparathyroidism.
Fluoride can also interfere with the functions of the brain. Findings from a meta-analysis of 27 studies suggest an inverse association between high fluoride exposure and children’s intelligence. Children, when exposed to high levels of fluoride, may face increased risk of impaired development of intelligence.6 The fetal brain is also susceptible to poisoning caused by ingestion of fluoride. Prior to birth, fluoride can cross the blood brain barrier and it incorporates into fetal tissues, leading to decreased intelligence, learning disorders, and hyperactivity in children. Bones can also be negatively affected by fluoride. Chronic fluoride exposure results in skeleton fluorosis, which is characterized by joint stiffness, sporadic pain, tingling sensation, muscle weakness and fatigue. The advanced stage of skeletal fluorosis is linked to arthritis, spinal cord compression, and osteoporosis.7
In addition, its topical benefits against tooth decay may have been exaggerated. A recent study demonstrated that the thickness of fluorapatite, the supposedly beneficial layer formed on teeth from fluoride, is only 6 nm. Now the question that these studies raise is whether or not such an ultra-thin layer can actually protect the enamel, considering that this so-called protective layer would get disrupted by simple chewing. The teeth turn hard and brittle on prolonged exposure to fluoride.6
Limiting your fluoride exposure with fluoride-free dentifrices
In most Asian countries, including India, concentration of fluoride level is more than the guideline values set out by the World Health Organization (WHO)8. Also, the use of pleasant-tasting fluoride toothpastes in these countries has increased, and as a result, there is an increasing potential for ingestion of toxic doses of this substance.9 Steps can be taken to limit your exposure to fluoride. Using non-fluoride toothpaste can immediately reduce your fluoride exposure. For those wanting to avoid toxic substances present in toothpastes, some alternatives with only natural ingredients exist.
“Use only fluoride-free toothpaste and mouthwash, especially if you have children and youngsters in your home as they may be apt to swallow toothpaste. By using fluoride-free dental products instead of the now-popular fluoride options, it would be possible for you to protect them from fluoride exposure and its harmful health effects,” advices Dr. (Physician)
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4504307/#bib69 .
- Divya Marathi Edition Aurangabad (Date 1st October’2019)
- Divya Marathi Edition Aurangabad (Date 29th September’2018)
- Pudhari Edition Pune (Date 23rd October’2018)