Fluoride is everywhere. Most of us have grown up brushing our teeth like good, responsible members of society and years later accidentally catch a glimpse of the big warning label on the back of that good ole toothpaste. It reads something like “if ingested, immediately call poison control.” Some of us have even double-checked the tube in case of having picked up our favorite hemorrhoid cream. But, unfortunately, it happens to the best of us. A bittersweet relief, having picked toothpaste and not some other oozing ointment, but the thought still lingers—why the ominous warning?
“Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally and is released from rocks into the soil, water, and air,” says the CDC. So, if fluoride is naturally occurring, why do copious tubes of toothpaste across the globe caution against its consumption? We’ve all experienced the adage: too much of any good thing can be unfavorable. Fluoride is no exception to this rule. For example, “74 studies have found that elevated fluoride exposure is associated with reduced IQ in humans, while over 60 animal studies have found that fluoride exposure impairs the learning and/or memory capacity of animals” (FluorideAlert.Org). Several other studies published on this site explain the detriments that come with the seemingly inescapable overconsumption of fluoride. Another article by FluorideAlert.Org states: “the naturally occurring level of fluoride in most fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and fresh surface water, is very low.” However, this amount of fluoride gets exacerbated due to factors that wouldn’t usually occur in nature.
The good news: “[fluoride] inhibits or reverses the initiation and progression of dental caries (tooth decay) and stimulates new bone formation,” states the National Institutes of Health. In addition, consuming fruits, vegetables, milk, and eggs provides a low and healthy amount of fluoride that benefits the body’s natural homeostasis. The bad news is that runoff from agriculture into local water supplies ups the intake of anyone consuming tap and bottled water that isn’t filtered. Unfortunately, not all bottled waters are sourced from a natural spring. Not only that but many pesticides and soils are now fluoride-fortified, so even natural produce’s levels of fluoride are rising.
What can you do to escape the horrors of over fluoridation while maintaining pearly whites? Investing in a good filter is a great place to start. There are several filters you can implement for your daily drinking water. However, another essential investment may be a filtration system for the shower. In an American Public Health Association study, “We found that skin absorption contributed from 29-91 percent of the total dose, averaging 64 percent.” The skin is a surprisingly porous organ capable of absorbing several contaminants from our tap and shower water.
Most things are good and well, taken in healthy moderation. Yesterday’s addition of a bit of fluoride here and there may have begun as an attempt to keep people hoe hum and healthy but has now, perhaps, become a bit overkill—literally. Just remember, always rinse and never swallow.