Are our children getting too much fluoride? It is being added to our water and toothpastes are loaded with it. It is alright for adults, but children can get too much, which makes their teeth look spotty and sometimes weaken.
Fluoride is a mineral found in nature. There is fluoride in the ocean, in the earth’s crust and in fresh water. Fluoride works by making the outer layer of teeth (called tooth enamel) stronger. When the outer layer is strong, teeth are less likely to get cavities.
Adding fluoride to the water is the best way to provide fluoride protection to a large number of people at a low cost. That’s why many towns and cities put fluoride in the water in a controlled manner. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recently named fluoridation of drinking water one of the 10 most successful public health measures in this century. Canadian Dental Association
Dental fluorosis occurs when white specks appear on a child’s teeth and is the result of a child getting too much fluoride. There is recent evidence that dental fluorosis among children is increasing. Most dental fluorosis is mild and barely visible.
Moderate to severe fluorosis readily takes up stain, creating permanent brown and black discolorations of the teeth. Dental fluorosis is not health threatening. It is mainly a cosmetic condition. In more severe cases, it can be easily treated by the dentist.
As a result of the staining and crumbling of enamel, children with moderate to severe dental fluorosis can suffer a great deal of social embarrassment and pyschological stress – with a corresponding loss in self-esteem.
A new fluoridated toothpaste guideline is only one step towards fixing the problem. As follows:
- Children Age 1-2 should only use a slight smear of toothpaste
- Children age 3-5 should only use 1/2 of a pea-size amount of toothpaste
- Children Age 6 and older should only use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste
- always supervise the amount of toothpaste used
- teach your child to spit after brushing
- help your child brush until 8 years of age
There are also non-fluoridated tooth pastes which are recommended for use before the age of 6. Burts Bees is the one I like the best – they also make one for children.
Ewg.org has posted the results of a study, done at Harvard, that finds a strong link between fluoridated water and bone cancer in boys.
The study, led by Dr. Elise Bassin and published online today in Cancer Causes and Control, the official journal of the Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention, found a strong link between fluoridated drinking water and osteocarcoma, a rare and often fatal bone cancer, in boys. The study confirms studies by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the New Jersey health department that also found increased rates of bone cancer in boys who drank fluoridated tap water.
Bassin’s study comes on the heels of a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report that found the federal “safe” limit for fluoride in tap water did not protect children from dental fluorosis or increased bone fractures. The NAS recommended that the allowable limit for fluoride in tap water be lowered immediately.
“This study raises very serious concerns about fluoride’s safety and its potential to cause bone cancer in teenage boys,” said Richard Wiles, EWG’s senior vice president. “The findings raise fundamental questions about the wisdom of adding fluoride to tap water.”