Interview by SafBaby Founders Sandra Blum and Samantha Fox Olson

We now have quite the informative database of articles that pertain to fluoride and their negative impact on our children’s health.

The first article we covered on this topic over a year ago, titled Are We Poisoning Our Babies And Children With Fluoride?, took a look into the controversy over the “dental benefits of fluoride.”

Our second article, Children and Fluoride FAQ – A Must Read For Every Parent! informs parents that the fluoride that is being used to supplement our public drinking water is, alarmingly, a waste product of the phosphate fertilizer industry! This waste product is dumped, without being purified, into drinking water and allowed by NSF International, the regulatory body over water additives, to have trace amounts of lead, arsenic, mercury and other toxins present.

Our latest article reminded us that there is fluoride in many of the foods we currently feed our kids, and alerted us to the fact that fluoride is in all infant formulas too.

Still, with all the research we have done, we had to clarify all of this controversial information. Does ingesting fluoride offer any benefit to the health and strength of our children’s teeth? There is just so much debatable and contradictory information out there, we wanted more answers.

Today we bring you another interview with Carol S. Kopf, Media Officer for the Fluoride Action Network (FAN).

The CDC Admits Fluoride in Water Used to Mix Formula Can Cause Enamel Fluorisis

SafBaby: Carol, I just read this page by CDC and they say this:

“The possibility of an association between fluoride in infant formula and the risk for enamel fluorosis has been studied for many years. Until now, most researchers concluded that fluoride intake during a child’s first 10 to 12 months had little impact on the development of this condition in permanent teeth. A recent study, however, has raised the possibility that fluoride exposure during the first year of life may play a more important role on fluorosis development than was previously understood. It now appears that the amount of the fluoride contained in the water used for mixing infant formula may influence a child’s risk for developing enamel fluorosis, particularly if the child’s sole source of nutrition is from reconstituted infant formula.

CDC will continue to assess the science regarding the use of fluoride in preventing tooth decay while limiting enamel fluorosis, and will modify its recommendations as warranted. CDC believes that community water fluoridation is safe and healthy and promotes its use for people of all ages.”

Their statement says “may influence a child’s risk for developing enamel fluorosis….”. So, it seems like there is no proven study on this. What’s your opinion about this?

By Maurizio Procaccini et al [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

(And see here for additional images of fluorosis.)

FAN:  Actually, this is a huge admission on the CDC’s part after decades of “assuring” the public that fluoride ingestion poses no risks. Also, the above statement was on their web site before these JADA articles were published, one of which is a systemic review article which the CDC’s says  “is even more important.”

The October JADA article also says:

“These issues will need to be considered more thoroughly by the ADA expert panel that is developing evidence-based recommendations on the use of fluoridated water for reconstitution of infant formula to assist health care providers in guiding patients. (Publication of the recommendation  is anticipated in spring 2010.)”

So, while the ADA is working on new guidelines (which the CDC will probably follow), this is the science that will guide them.

And science is always evolving and never final. So it seems the CDC is covering themselves legally by putting that wishy washy statement on their web site. However, researchers have been reporting this definitively for decades, using our tax dollars, that infants who consume concentrated formula mixed with fluoridated water are more apt to develop dental fluorosis than those who don’t. Why isn’t the public informed?

Even smoking may cause lung cancer.  But everyone who smokes won’t get cancer.  And every child who consumes infant formula with too much fluoride will not get fluorosis, but some will.  And there is no benefit for babies to ingest fluoride. So why take the risk?  There is definitely a proven link between fluorosis and concentrated infant formula mixed with fluoridated water. Just as there is a proven link between cancer and smoking.

Another analogy is that it took 50 years for the smoking/cancer link to emerge from the scientific literature into popular acceptance.  The scientific literature is now screaming at us to stop mixing fluoridated water with infant formula. And our “leaders” seem more fearful of tainting fluoride’s image or their authority than in protecting babies from dental fluorosis.

The Myths of Fluoride

SafBaby: Also, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry says this on their website:

Q: Should I just avoid fluorides for my child altogether?
A: No! Fluoride prevents tooth decay. It is an important part of helping your child keep a healthy smile for a lifetime. Getting enough — but not too much — fluoride can be easily accomplished with the help of your pediatric dentist.

So are there PROVEN studies that fluoride is needed to prevent tooth decay?

FAN:  No. According to the dental textbook, “Dentist, Dental Practice, and the Community” by prominent researchers and dental university professors  Burt, Eklund, et al. and based on pages of scientific references, the authors reveal that:

  • Fluoride is not an essential nutrient. It isn’t even a nutrient.
  • Fluoride incorporated into developing teeth does NOT reduce tooth decay but does increase fluorosis. Alleged beneficial effects occur topically.
  • There is no evidence that “optimal” intake inhibits cavities. In fact, the authors suggest “optimum intake” of fluoride be dropped from common usage.
  • Near universal fluoridation in the U.S.A. hasn’t leveled out tooth decay rates, instead fluorosis has spread and increased.
  • Not every possible hypothesis regarding fluoride and human health was tested before beginning fluoridation.
  • “No clear reasons for the caries (cavities) decline (in the U.S.) have been identified.”
  • At between 3 and 4 times “optimal” fluoride causes tooth decay.
  • “Dental fluorosis cannot be classed as a public health problem in the United States … It would be a mistake, however, to assume that it could not become so.”

Achieving cavity-free status has little to do with fluoride intake, reports a study in the Fall 2008 Journal of Public Health Dentistry. Researchers explain that when fluoridation began in the 1940’s, “it was believed that fluoride needed to be ingested early in life to provide [cavity] prevention. Today, evidence suggests that the benefits of fluoride are mostly topical.” (A)

Researchers reporting in the Oct 6 2007 British Medical Journal  indicate that fluoridation, touted as a safe cavity preventive, never was proven safe or effective and may be unethical. (B)

Even though fluoridated water is the most consumed item in Detroit Michigan, cavities are extensive, according to Caries Research. (C)

Fluoridation is damaging teeth with little cavity reduction, according to a review of studies reported in Clinical Oral Investigations. (D)

After 50+ years of water fluoridation, Newburgh NY children had more cavities and more fluoride-caused discolored teeth (dental fluorosis) than children in never-fluoridated Kingston NY, according to a 1998 New York State Department of Health study. (E)

“It may…be that fluoridation of drinking water does not have a strong protective effect against early childhood caries (ECC),” reports dentist Howard Pollick, University of California, and colleagues, in the Winter 2003 Journal of Public Health Dentistry. (F)

Cavity rates declined in several cities that stopped water fluoridation, several studies report. (G)

Despite living without fluoridated water, rural children’s cavity rates equal those of urban children, who are more likely to drink fluoridated water, according to a large national government study of over 24,000 U.S. children, ages 2- to 17-year-old. (H)

Dental examinations of 4800 South Australian ten- to fifteen-year-olds’ permanent teeth reveal they have similar cavity rates whether they drink fluoridated water or not, reports Armfield and Spencer in the August 2004 “Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology”. (I)

Why Topical Fluoride Treatments Should Also Be Avoided

SafBaby: It’s clear to us that ingesting fluoride is not a safe alternative to keeping our kid’s teeth strong.  Do you recommend *topical* fluoride treatments for our children to help them prevent tooth decay?

FAN: While topical fluoride is certainly a freedom of choice issue, I would never use it or recommend it.

It appears to me that fluoride does harden the outer enamel of teeth.  But that doesn’t mean it prevents tooth decay.  It often hides cavities.

As dentists probe an otherwise healthy looking tooth, it “explodes” to reveal hidden decay beneath the surface which dentists themselves have labeled “fluoride bombs.” Teeth are microscopic rods squished together so tight, it appears as if the enamel is a sheet, but actually there are even smaller microscopic spaces between the rods where decay can “leak” in.

Also anything that’s put into the mouth gets absorbed into the bloodstream as well as involuntarily swallowed.  Those new fluoride varnishes contain a hugely toxic 26,600 parts per million fluoride (compare that to water at 1 ppm and toothpaste at 1,000 ppm which has a poison warning on the back). No one has tested fluoride varnishes for health effects.  Varnishes, foam and gel fluoride treatments at dentists’ offices have been shown to spike blood fluoride levels.

Fluoride mouth rinses with a low fluoride concentration have been proven ineffective by the objective Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. So why bother. In the 1980’s I authored an adopted New York State PTA resolution to ban fluoride rinses in schools. I had letters from parents whose children were terribly sickened by the fluoride which officials assured them couldn’t happen.  When they stopped the mouth rinses their health problems disappeared.

I find it interesting that people are tweeting about their fluoride treatments.  Some say how sick it makes them feel; but I’m sure they don’t even think it’s the fluoride that’s making them sick – just the procedure.  If they did, I wonder if they would tell the dentist, “No thank you.”

The only proven cause of tooth decay is present decay and poverty, which is linked to poor nutrition and a host of other sicknesses.

So there’s no getting around it, only healthy diets create healthy teeth along with regular check ups to remove any decay before it causes more damage.  Of course, cleaning teeth is important to clear away food debris.

Dentist Weston A. Price in his book “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration” showed decades ago that populations who ate healthy diets had great teeth without fluoride, dentists or toothbrushes.

Even the American Dental Association says good dental health begins in the womb with nutrients such as calcium, protein, phosphorous and vitamins A, C and D. But there’s no money in promoting nutrition.

For more information about Fluoride, please visit Fluoride Action Network’s website.

(A) Journal of Public Health Dentistry, Fall 2008, “Considerations on Optimal Fluoride Intake Using Dental Fluorosis and Dental Caries Outcomes – A Longitudinal Study,”  by Warren, et al.
(B)  “Adding fluoride to water supplies,” British Medical Journal, KK Cheng, Iain Chalmers, Trevor A. Sheldon, October 6, 2007
(C) “Dietary Patterns Related to Caries in a Low-Income Adult Population, Burt, et al., Caries Research 2006:40:473-480
(D)  “Community Water Fluoridation and Caries Prevention: A Critical Review,” Clinical Oral Investigations, by Giuseppe Pizzo & Maria R. Piscopo & Ignazio Pizzo &
Giovanna Giuliana  2007 Feb 27
(E) Figure 1, Page 41, “Recommendations for Fluoride Use in children” NYS Dental Journal, February 1998
(F) “The Association of Early Childhood Caries and Race/Ethnicity among California Preschool Children, by Shiboski, Gansky, Ramos-Gomez, Ngo, Isman, Pollick, Journal of Public Health Dentistry, Winter 2003, pages 38-46
(G) .
(H) Journal of Rural Health, Summer 2003, “Oral Health Status of Children and Adolescents by Rural Residence, United States.” by
Clemencia M. Vargas, DDS, PhD; Cynthia R. Ronzio, PhD; and Kathy L. Hayes, DMD, MPH
(I) Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, August 2004 Consumption of nonpublic water: implications for children’s caries experience, byArmfield JM, Spencer AJ.