Fluoride is — everywhere. Fluorine is a common element in the earth’s crust, so fluorides are naturally present in the soil, rocks, and water all throughout the world. In addition, fluorides are used in many industrial processes, for example, coal burning, oil refining, steel production, brick-making, and the production of phosphate fertilizers (yet another reason to go organic!).
Our main sources of exposure to fluoride, however, are diet (food and water) and fluoride-containing dental products (e.g., toothpaste). Fluoride is found in higher concentrations in soft, alkaline, and calcium-deficient waters, and since the fluoride compounds that occur naturally in drinking water are almost totally bioavailable (90%), they are virtually all absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract.(1),(7)
Although fluoridation of community drinking water to prevent dental caries has been hailed by some as one of the ten most important “public health achievements of the 20th century,” along with the claimed decline in tooth cavities has come an increase in dental fluorosis, a disturbance of the production of tooth enamel caused by exposure to high concentrations of fluoride between the ages of 3 months and 8 years – the time when teeth are developing. (To be precise, the substance used in water “fluoridation” is flurosiliic acid, an “industrial waste”.)
In its mild, and surprisingly common, forms, fluorosis shows up as tiny white streaks or specks in the tooth enamel. In its most severe form, the teeth are marred and brown discolorations — spots and stains that are permanent and can darken over time. Dental fluorosis is highly prevalent world-wide. As of 2005, 23% of persons in the United States aged 6 to 39 years had mild or greater dental fluorosis.(7)
How does fluoride affect our bones?
Fluoride acts on both