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The National Academy of Sciences reported that fluoride in drinking water can cause severe damage to the teeth and bones. Read more about Fluoride and Osteosarcoma.
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Reducing the Risk of Fluoride Exposure

While the risks posed by fluoride can be devastating, you can take action to reduce the risk of fluoride exposure for yourself and your family. There are many sources of fluoride exposure, fluoridated water being the biggest culprit in terms of adverse health effects, including osteosarcoma.

Though fluoridated water is one of the biggest culprits, total exposure to fluoride is one of the factors that ultimately determine one’s level of risk for the adverse effects of fluoride. Therefore, it is important to reduce the level of exposure to fluoride from all sources.

While it is in the best interests of every person to reduce their exposure to fluoride, reducing exposure in growing children and adolescents is particularly crucial to reduce the risks of conditions like dental fluorosis and osteosarcoma.

The best way to reduce the risks of fluoride exposure is to limit ingestion of foods and beverages containing fluoride.

1. Fluoridated water: Limiting one’s consumption of fluoridated water is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of fluoride exposure. To find out how much fluoride is in your water you can call your local utility company. If your exposure to fluoride is high, you can reduce your exposure in a few ways:

  • Home water-filtration system: Filtration systems can remove 13 to 99 percent of the fluoride in water, depending on the type of system. Some filtration systems do nothing to filter out fluoride. Filtration that uses reverse-osmosis appears to be the best method of removing fluoride from drinking water.
  • Bottled water: Bottled water can also have fluoride, though it is usually at a lower concentration. About 20 bottled water companies add fluoride to their home and office bottled water. If a bottler does not add fluoride to their water, they do not have to indicate fluoride content on their labeling, though the water may contain naturally occurring fluoride. Federal laws limit naturally occurring fluoride in bottled water to 1.4 to 2.4 mg/l if the bottler doesn’t add fluoride. The scientists at the EPA order unfluoridated bottled water for their offices.

2. Fluoridated toothpaste: To reduce the risk of fluoride exposure, you may consider switching to non-fluoride toothpaste, available at most health food stores and some supermarkets. This is particularly important if you have young kids in the family. Children tend to swallow toothpaste more often when brushing, ingesting potentially dangerous amounts of fluoride. This can increase the risk of dental fluorosis, osteosarcoma, and more. Some evidence shows that fluoride from dentifrice can enter the blood via the gums, thus increasing systemic exposure to fluoride.

3. Infant formula: If you have an infant, it is important to avoid using fluoridated water to mix his/her formula. Using fluoridated water in infant formula delivers very high doses of fluoride to the young child’s system. Infant formula made with fluoridated tap water contains 100 to 200 times more fluoride than natural breast milk.

4. Soda and Juice: Juices and sodas made from concentrate are often produced with fluoridated water. These products generally have the same concentration of fluoride as fluoridated water.

5. Green and black tea: Both of these types of teas can contain higher levels of fluoride. Therefore, limiting consumption of teas can reduce the risk of fluoride exposure.

6. Wine and grape juice: To reduce the risk of fluoride exposure from wine and grape juice, you can switch to organically-made products. Many grapes grown commercially in the US are treated with a form of fluoride called cryolite, which results in high fluoride concentrations in processed grapes. If you don’t want to buy organic, you can reduce the risk of fluoride exposure by consuming wine made in Europe, since those vintners tend to use much less cryolite.

7. Fluoridated salt: Always favor other types of salt over fluoridated salt in countries that have this type of salt-additive program.

8. Teflon pans: Avoid using Teflon-coated pans, since they may increase the levels of fluoride in cooked foods.

9. Anesthetic: If you are going to have surgery, ask the doctor to use non-fluoridated anesthesia. Isoflurane, Sevoflurane, and Enflurane all contain fluoride and can produce high levels of fluoride in the system for at least 24 hours.

PROTECTING YOUR TEETH

While the benefits of fluoride for the teeth are also controversial, you can promote dental health while avoiding the risk of exposure to fluoride.

1. Sealants: sealants applied to the pits and fissures of the teeth can be very effective in reducing the risk of cavities. Certain sources of fluoride primarily protect the smooth surfaces of the teeth. A study from the 1990s shows that pit and fissure surfaces are the site of over 80 percent of all cavities in children. Therefore, sealants appear much more effective in the prevention of caries, compared to fluoride.

2. Whole grain bread: Compared to children raised on white bread, children who eat whole grain bread during development appear to have less than half the risk of dental decay.

3. Proper dental care: Following your dentist-recommended dental care plan—which includes brushing, flossing, and other dental care strategies—is another excellent way to protect your teeth without the risks associated with fluoride-related measures.

If you are interested in learning more about how to reduce the risk of fluoride exposure, you should speak with a well-informed health care or dental provider.

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