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Cavity Prevention and Fluoride: A Paradoxical Status Quo

In the near future, I plan to post a really fantastic product review on something (that doesn’t have fluoride) that really helps teeth.  However, the controversy on fluoride is so extensive, I believe I need to write up a post just to set-up the foundation for the particular product I’m reviewing.  So, check back next week for a healthy option to fluoridated toothpaste.  Meanwhile. read on to learn why fluoride is evil and leads to cellular death AND tooth decay.  Intrigued?  I thought you would be.

My sister-in-law first piqued my interest on tooth soap by citing research about the negative effects of fluoride on teeth and overall health.  I decided to read about it, and I began my quest at Inspired Living where I found a lot of information.  I was bummed that the specific journal references were missing from the facts, but I kept digging for more info.

I decided to do my own research on Medline to find any current literature on the efficacy of water fluoridation.  For a key word search for articles, I typed in “fluoridation and bone health”.

Basic Chemistry

Interestingly, Fluorine is the most electronegative element in the periodic table of elements.  It has an extreme affinity for other positive charges to complete it’s highly reactive state.  As a result, fluorine or sodium fluoride can break hydrogen-oxygen bonds of other compounds, and cause free radicals to form.  On numerous research sites, I read some variation of the following information:

The presence of sodium fluoride in drinking water at the level of 2 ppm may cause mottled enamel in teeth, skeletal fluorosis, and may be associated with cancer and other diseases.

What’s the Deal with Free Radicals?

Free radicals are highly volatile unpaired electrons that quickly react with other compounds (seeking and destroying weak bonds) in order to capture a necessary electron to gain stability.  When a molecule is “attacked” by a free radical, it then becomes a free radical.  Then, an ugly chain reaction of molecule bullying and breaking has begun.  When free radicals naturally occur to fight viruses and bacteria, that’s not a big blow to the body’s immune system.

But, when the body’s threshold is overloaded with free radicals due to environmental toxins (pollution, second-hand cigarette smoke, pharmacological drugs, lack of sleep, pesticides, BPA, etc.) and the body doesn’t have enough anti-oxidants (vitamins C & E donate a pair of electrons)  to pair with the volatile electron-mongering free radicals, THEN problems arise.  In this day and age, a constant barrage of free radicals is easy to come by . . . so why intentionally ingest them along with drinking water?

[Read more about basic chemistry and get info on free radicals and antioxidants from healthchecksystems.]

Cavity and Water Fluoridation Research

I found a study that analyzed the trends in dental decay from 1992 to 1998 in two towns in Finland which had low fluoridation and they completely ceased fluoridation.  Random samplings of 1500+ children ages 3 to 15 from 1992 to 1998 were examined for dental caries [tooth decay] and the abstract of the study concluded:

The fact that no increase in caries was found in [the town of] Kuopio despite discontinuation of water fluoridation and decrease in preventive procedures suggests that not all of these measures were necessary for each child.

In 2005, a Chinese Journal of Hygiene Research concluded that over 2.0 mg/L fluoride in drinking water can cause renal damage in children, and the damage degree increases with the drinking water fluoride content. Renal damage degree was mainly due to water fluoride concentration.

A follow-up study was published in Environmental Research in 2007.  Researchers found that the fluoride levels in serum and urine of children in China increased as the levels of drinking water fluoride increased.  The study concluded,

Drinking water fluoride levels over 2.0mg/L can cause damage to liver and kidney functions in children and that the dental fluorosis was independent of damage to the liver but not the kidney.

More Freaky Fluoride Facts

But, don’t take my word or research skills for it, read for yourself.

Check out Wholy Water’s site for an informative article and literature review entitled Toxic Effects of Fluoride.

Read the Fluoride Debate which is a response to the American Dental Association’s Fluoridation Facts.

Check out the politically active Fluoride Action Network for up to date info on Fluoride.

Read the Flouride Research Journal.

Read more on the toxic effects of fluoridation in your water from the holistic med site.

Read America: Overdosed on Fluoride by Lynn Landes and Maria Beches.

If you’re more of a visual learner, check out the photos of teeth (dental fluoridation) and water pipes with fluoridation from the site Fluoride: Protected Pollutant or Panacea?

So fluoride in my water and toothpaste is more harmful than helpful, now what?

No, you don’t have to use your bar soap on your teeth if you don’t want to (although, that would work just as well).  There’s actually an option that’s helpful and tastes pretty minty fresh.  Check back next week for more.

–This is an original Traveling with Baby post by Dr. Dolly Garnecki

Safe Skeeter Repellent

Happy Independence Day!  Along with your freedom to life, liberty, and property, may you also have freedom from bugs and bites.

As you spend today reflecting on our nation’s independence, enjoying BBQ, fireworks, and family time, there’s a strong possibility you’ll be fending off the bugs, especially the blood-sucking nasty mosquito-type.  If you live in Minnesota or Alaska, those skeeters are the size of birds, and very little will deter them because they can pierce through denim, wool, and even steel armor.

But, before you lather on whatever type of bug repellent is available at your nearest general goods retailer, consider the ingredients.  What’s in those lotions may be far worse than the ephemeral effects of an itchy mosquito bite.

Several bug repellents carry insecticides such as DEET, permethrin, and picaridin which cause many harmful side effects.

In an article recently published in ACA News (C Burke. Natural alternatives for mosquito management. ACA News. June 2008. p. 30-1.),

According to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Pesticide Information Profile Extension Toxicology Network, DEET has the potential to cause rashes, breathing difficulties, neurotoxic effects and even death, especially in susceptible individuals and those overusing the chemical.  Studies have also shown that the chemical is transported from the skin to all organs of the body,  [then, it ]enters the brain.  [It]  can be transferred to babies via breast milk, and [it] can even reach the fetus.

However, there are plenty of safer alternatives to insecticides and DEET, many of which revolve around one or two main ingredients that are easy and inexpensive to find.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), bug repellents using oil of lemon eucalyptus as the main ingredient were found to provide similar protection to those using low concentrations of DEET.

The following is a list, not by any means comprehensive, which provides natural alternatives to insecticides to help repel mosquitoes, flies, and ticks:

To enjoy a bug-free evening in your own backyard, there are simple measures you can take.

  1. Grow attractive insect-repelling plants in your garden: marigolds, geraniums, catnip, basil, citronella grass, peppermint, lemon balm, rosemary, thyme, and mosquito plants.  These plants naturally repel the hungry little beastly bugs while maintaining a lovely garden aesthetic.
  2. Make your OWN insect repelling spray by crushing the leaves of the aforementioned plants, thereby releasing their essential oils.  Mix them with isopropyl alcohol and create your own natural insect repellant.
  3. Burn sandalwood sticks in your yard (obviously keep curious little ones away).
  4. Eliminate standing/stagnant water in your yard, because this is the breeding and hatching ground for mosquito eggs.
  5. Avoid wearing lotions with fragrance, perfumes, and scented hair care products while playing outdoors.  These are mosquito and fly magnets.  It’s far better to smell of lemon and eucalyptus and to be bug bite-free!
  6. Burn citronella candles in outside areas with low wind such as on your patio table keeping bugs at bay from your BBQ.
  7. Maintain your door and window screens around the perimeter.  If those little buggers sneak into the cracks around those, then you’ve got ’em in your house.  And nothing’s worse than listening to a buzzing mosquito at 3 AM!

Read www.beyondpesticides.org for more info about protecting you and your backyard from mosquitos.

If, perchance, you still happen to get that little nagging nip that turns into a pimple-sized itchy nob, and you’re “itching” for a natural remedy to prevent you from scratching your skin off, I highly recommend the nectar directly from an aloe vera plant, or Sting Away which is an aloe vera based spray that you can find at your local pharmacy or health foods store.  I’ve used it for hornet stings as well as mosquito bites.  The label also advocates its use for sea lice and jellyfish stings.  The soothing aloe quickly takes the edge of a deeply itchy sting or bite.