Longer, healthier life or growing fangs?

A friend of mine Jessica Lopez who is a registered nurse and health coach and has an amazing website filled with information about improving one’s life talked about fluoride in one of her blog posts yesterday. I had heard of fluoride before and about the fact that it was toxic and harmful but I figured since it’s in our drinking tap water and most of our dental products, like mouthwash and toothpaste, it can’t be that bad. So I read a little bit about it and I find that the opinions out there seem to vary. It is a fact that higher than recommended doses are unsafe and can weaken bones and ligaments, and cause muscle weakness and nervous system problems. Some studies also show that excessive amounts of fluoride can lower one’s IQ. High doses of fluoride in children before their permanent teeth come through the gums can also cause tooth discoloration. Other effects listed by recent studies are genetic damage and cell death, an increase in tumor and cancer rate, disruption of the immune system, etc.

But fluoride is found naturally in soil, water, foods, and several minerals the names of which mean pretty much nothing to most people. Some wonder why is fluoride added to our drinking water since we’re already ingesting it daily from foods? The answer from the US water authorities is that it is said to reduce the prevalence of tooth decay in the local population. However, most of the countries in Europe which do not have water fluoridation did not find that their incidences of dental cavities increased.

Nevertheless, virtually all public health authorities and medical associations worldwide seem to agree that children and adults must receive a minimum (and maximum) level of fluoride. Children need fluoride to protect their permanent teeth as they are being formed while adults need fluoride to protect their teeth from decay.

OK so we need it and can’t really escape it. Then I guess like everything else in life it’s a matter of how much or how little do we need without jeopardizing our health. I have no idea! How’s that for honesty? 🙂 I’m not in the field and I haven’t done any extensive research on it. But I love moderation in my life so I decided that since I already seem to get my dose of fluoride from food daily perhaps it’s not a bad idea to eliminate it from my dental products. My grandparents never used toothpaste – they used baking soda and salt to brush their teeth. They’ve never been to the dentist and lived well into the 80s (my grandma is still alive and well).

So last night my fiance and I started using Trader Joe’s natural toothpaste with fennel, propolis and myrrh. Not the best tasting thing I ever put in my mouth, to be honest, but will give it a try for a while.  Will let you know if we end up growing fangs 🙂



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