Fact or Myth: Does Fluoride Protect Against Tooth Decay?

This is a MYTH.

From toothpaste to mouthwash, professional dental treatments to drinking water, fluoride makes an appearance as an enamel-protecting ingredient that shields your pearly whites from tooth decay. More and more research, however, suggests that not only does fluoride not protect against tooth decay, but it also instigates a host of health problems, from brain damage to bone cancer.

tooth brushThe Myth

Fluoride has dominated the dental decree since the 1960s. Conventional wisdom holds that fluoride converts the primary mineral in tooth enamel, hydroxapaite, into a tougher, more decay-resistant coating called fluorapatite. Turns out that this coating is too thin—100 times thinner than previously thought—to provide any sort of protection.

A 2010 study published in the American Chemical Society’s journal Langmuir revealed that fluorapatite is actually only 6 nanometers thick. For perspective, you’d need 100,000 layers to reach the width of a human hair! This minuscule layer is easily worn away from simple chewing, leading scientists to wonder what good fluoride really does . . . especially since it’s actually a potent neurotoxin.

The Fact

Americans spend over $50 billion a year to treat cavities, despite the fact that water supplies, toothpastes, and mouthwashes are flooded with fluoride. Fluoride doesn’t seem to be living up to its reputation as cavity fighter. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), people in Europe have just as good, if not better, teeth than Americans do. What’ the difference? The United States adds fluoride to over 50% of its public water supplies—all in the name of healthy teeth. The majority of mainland Europe has banned the use of fluoride in water, understanding and respecting the health ramifications. Over 25 studies have linked fluoride found in drinking water to lower IQ in children!

Still not convinced fluoride is a toxin? Sodium fluoride is often used in rat and cockroach poisons—and it’s a far simpler form of fluoride! When fluoride accumulates in the system over time it causes health conditions such as:

  • Arthritis
  • Impaired thyroid function
  • Dementia
  • Bone cancer
  • Decreased intelligence
  • Weakened immune system
  • Cell death
  • Reduced collagen synthesis
  • Muscle disorders
  • Bone fractures
  • Increased infertility

What Really Causes Tooth Decay

Ditch the fluoride . . . and the sugar! Excessive sugar consumption, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in particular, accelerates tooth decay. When sugar is metabolized by bacteria in the mouth, it produces an acid that wears away at enamel. The bacteria eventually settles in the dentine as tooth decay.

Protect your teeth and your health by avoiding fluoridated water and adding a water filter to your drinking supply. If concerned about fluoride in toothpaste and mouthwash, opt for a fluoride-free alternative like Tom’s of Maine or Theodent.