Fluoride is one of those known toxic chemicals which we are easily exposed to these days through the water we drink or the toothpaste we use to brush our teeth every morning.
Municipalities across America used to add fluoride to the water supply to reduce tooth decay. A practice which has come under the radar due to the numerous side-effects that fluoride exposure can produce. And, contrary to popular belief that it encourages oral health, fluoride, in fact, has no role to play in preventing the growth of harmful oral bacteria.
The toxicity of fluoride can only be understood by the fact that it is the number one reason why poison control calls concerning fluoride are received for children who’ve eaten fluoride according to reports by the American Association of Poison Control Centers.[2,3]
Long-term exposure to fluoride can be harmful to the digestive system, heart, brain and even the bones (including the enamel).[4,5,6] Fluorosis, a chronic condition caused by excessive exposure to fluoride, can cause mottling of the teeth and in severe cases calcification of the ligaments.
Here are nine ways in which fluoride exposure can be risky for your health.
1) Harms The Thyroid
Fluoride and iodine belong to the same family of chemical compounds—halogens. While iodine is essential for the normal functioning of the thyroid, fluoride isn’t. Because of their similar chemical structures, the thyroid gland easily absorbs fluoride instead of iodine.
Fluoride also inhibits the functioning of the thyroid cells and might cause cell death. For many years, fluoride was used to treat people with an overactive thyroid.
2) Leads To Arthritis
Fluoride causes calcification of cartilage, the connective tissue between joints. Fluorosis is linked to degenerative osteoarthritis. In a clinical study done on people with fluorosis, knee conditions such as osteoarthritis occurred frequently.
3) Triggers Early Puberty In Females
The pineal gland plays an important role in the onset of puberty. A study shows that girls living in areas with more fluoride exposure experience puberty much earlier that girls who don’t.
4) Calcifies The Pineal Gland
The pineal gland helps regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycles. Fluoride exposure leads to accumulation of fluoride in the pineal gland causing it to calcify. By the time an average individual reaches old age, the pineal gland would have a higher density of calcium than their bones.
5) Damages The Kidney
A higher rate of chronic kidney disease is reported in places where the water contains high levels of fluoride.[14,15] Chinese researchers state that a fluoride level of 2mg/L can cause renal damage in children. While water levels of fluoride are much lower, fluoride exposure continues through the regular use of fluoridated toothpaste.
6) Causes Infertility In Men & Women
There is a direct link between fluoridated drinking water and fertility rates. High fluoride levels are linked to lower fertility rates, especially where fluoride concentration is 3ppm (parts per million) in drinking water.
Animal studies show that fluoride reduces reproductive hormones in females. Men who suffer from fluorosis have low levels of testosterone and fertility than men with reduced fluoride exposure.
7) Causes Skeletal Fluorosis
Skeletal fluorosis results from fluoride consumption. Being unable to process, fluoride passes into the bloodstream where it combines with calcium that has leeched from the bones. This weakens bones.
While this risk is known for many years, researchers haven’t established how much exposure can trigger skeletal fluorosis.[20,21,22] Chinese authorities have established a link between reductions in fluoride exposure and the incidence of fluorosis.
8) Affects Heart Health
Research indicates that fluoride exposure can cause cardiovascular inflammation and atherosclerosis.[24,25]
9) Decreases Cognition & IQ
A study found that fluoride can negatively impact a child’s neural development. Children living in highly fluoridated areas are at a five times greater risk of developing a low IQ compared to those who don’t.
How Can You Reduce Your Exposure To Fluoride?
- Using a non-fluoride toothpaste can decrease your immediate exposure to fluoride.
- Use a reverse osmosis water purification system to avoid fluorosis.
- Healthy iodine levels can protect the thyroid from the toxic effects of fluoride. The best natural source of iodine is seafood found in saltwater. Kelp, a seaweed, is also high in this mineral. Other good sources are shellfish such as shrimp and prawns.
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