Tuesday, January 15, 2013

HealThy Mouth Seminar... Thoughts on Fluoride?

This post is based on the HealThy Mouth Seminar series (, which is unfortunately only available for free for 24 hrs but I believe can still be purchased if you're interested. I'm not affiliated with the seminar, but many of the presentations brought up good points, particularly one by Dr. David Kennedy regarding fluoride and fluoridation of public water. Putting fluoride in our water doesn't really seem like the best idea for cognitive or overall health in general (less than 6% of the world's population drinks fluoridated water), but I'll let you be the judge of that... I personally had mild perioral dermatitis from using fluoridated toothpaste, and it can even cause discoloration of your teeth (among other things). However, it's the less noticeable and cumulative (a lifetime of exposure) internal effects that I think are the most cause for concern.

I haven't made any drastic changes, mainly just removed the biggest sources of artificial fluoride. I think that's a reasonable change, you can read more about fluoridation on Wikipedia. I don't think anyone would argue that fluoride can reduce the occurrence of cavities, the question is really whether it's worth putting a toxic reactive chemical in your body to accomplish the minimal 15% reduction... or if maybe a better diet (Primal?) and cleaning are the real solution? Check out Weston A. Price's research on diet and cavities, look at the pictures in "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" and tell me that what we eat has nothing to do with the health of out teeth...?

I looked into various water filtration systems and found out that the standard pitcher/faucet filters DON'T remove fluoride; so the Brita, PUR and ZeroWater filters are great at removing particulates, heavy metals and chlorine, but don't significantly reduce the fluoride content of your water. Distillation only removes about 60% (and leaves behind many Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's)). Activated alumina filters can remove up to 80%, but they pose unknown health risks from aluminum exposure (not widely available) and leave high Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). The only way I found to efficiently remove most of the fluoride and also remove particulates, heavy metals and VOCs was a reverse osmosis (RO) system... At first I thought they'd be too expensive, but Amazon has a good system (5-stage, 75 gallon/day, NSF Certified) for $170 that I've been using for a while now and works great. It's a big investment, but the filters last 6 months to a year (depending on use), and over the long run you're saving money over buying RO bottled water elsewhere. Plus, no more Brita filters (which are pretty expensive already!). Problem solved... [link to City of Cocoa's Water Quality Report, 2011; Fluoride is added to our local water along with Chlorine!]

RO System: iSpring 75GPD 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System - Comparing to Watts Premier, Crystal Clear, GE, APEC

There are a lot of fluoride free toothpastes out there, so I'd try a few and see what you like. Personally, I'd recommend one with Neem in it. Neem has been used medicinally in India for over 2 millennia  and is known for it's antibacterial properties and used in oral cleaning (among other things). I use a combination of tooth paste and then add a little of the tooth powder to it... the tooth powder is also really nice for traveling (no liquids).

Toothpaste: Himalaya Herbal Healthcare Neem & Pomegranate Toothpaste

Powder: Peppermint Toothpowder - 2.5 oz - Powder

All-in-One Tooth Powder: Eco-Dent Extra Brite Tooth Whitener, Without Fluoride, Dazzling Mint

After I eat I like to chew gum to remove food from between teeth, and this gum has Neem and peppermint for fresh breath (both have antibacterial properties) and to help polish teeth as well. The only downside is that the mint flavor doesn't last very long, but at least the gum doesn't dissolve in your mouth like many other's do after chewing for an hour. It's also sugar free (xylitol; cavity protection) and soy free, which is hard to find with gum!

Gum: Peelu Co. Chewing Gum, Peppermint

That's it... these small changes have reduced my exposure to fluoride significantly and have kept me cavity free for 27+ years, and hopefully for many more to come!


  1. Hey Josh: Fluoride in the drinking water is a big concern for me as well, but I have read many articles that state reverse osmosis systems may not remove Flouride. I don't know. It is very confusing. Right now I am using a big Berkey filter, but yes I have concerns about the activated aluminum as well.

    1. The way I understand it is that the semipermeable membrane allows the passage of water molecules, but not ions (e.g., Na+, Ca2+, Cl-) or larger molecules (e.g., VOCs, glucose, urea, bacteria). Typically in the US for water fluoridation:

      "Hexafluorosilicic acid is also commonly used for water fluoridation in several countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland. In the U.S., about 40,000 tons of fluorosilicic acid is recovered from phosphoric acid plants, and then used primarily in water fluoridation, sometimes after being processed into sodium silicofluoride.[5] In this application, the hexafluorosilicic acid converts to the fluoride ion (F-)..."

      Now, fluoride ions (F-) are smaller than Cl-, so the effectiveness of the RO filter on fluoride seems to be less but still reduces the concentration in the filtered water. I remember seeing a few posts/articles where they said Fluoride wasn't filtered out but I think it turned out to be someone trying to promote their website (which is now shutdown/open domain) and sell calcium supplements. It's definitely confusing, but I still think a standard RO system is your best bet with a little natural salt added in afterwards for taste/electrolytes/minerals.

  2. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this blog.

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