There have been huge changes in the field of dentistry over the past 30 years.
My generation (born in the 1970s) is probably the first where a high percentage of those aged 40 and over still have all of their own original teeth.
Most people in my parents’ generation had partial dentures or metal braces by the age of 40, while most of my grandparents’ generation had complete sets of dentures from as young as 30 years old.
These false teeth were commonly referred to as a “28 set dinner service”, and were traditionally given as a wedding gift to the bride and groom by their parents on their special day.
Such a wedding gift would certainly be considered bizarre today, thanks to the progress in dental care.
This means that we are really the first generation of people to have to consider the implications of long-term oral hygiene on our own original teeth.
Hopefully, you have been flossing and brushing every night, and visiting the dentist twice a year for scaling and polishing!
While most of the changes in dentistry have resulted in great improvements in overall dental health, there have also been challenges and controversies.
For example, the FDI World Dental Federation has for years, stood by two laws of practice:
• Fluoride is the best way to protect teeth from cavities, and
• Silver amalgam fillings containing mercury are the safest and most effective way to fill cavities.
Unfortunately, both fluoride and mercury have recently made medical journal The Lancet’s list of toxic substances that are harmful to human health.
While some dentists have changed their practices in the light of these developments, there are others who still hold firm to their belief in the safety and benefits of these two laws of practice.
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally-occurring substance that is found in drinking water.
Many observant dentists over the years noticed and documented the beneficial effects of fluoridated drinking water, and some even worked out the optimum levels in parts per million (ppm) for preventing cavities.
One such dentist was Dr H.T. Dean, whose 21 city study, published in 1942, showed that fluorosis was extremely rare at fluoride levels of 1ppm or below, which was also the optimum baseline for cavity prevention.
Based on this, the American town of Grand Rapids, Michigan, became the first in the world to have their drinking water artificially fluoridated on Jan 25, 1945.
In 1955, the British Department of Health followed by selecting three sites for pilot fluoridation schemes.
Their huge success in reducing cavities inspired other cities to follow by fluoridating their own water systems.
Currently, some 40 countries have artificial water fluoridation schemes in existence, including Malaysia.
This global initiative was proven to be so effective that in the early 1970s, fluoride was added to toothpaste. This move is thought to have been a major contributor to the fall in tooth decay rates experienced in developed countries in the past three decades.
The problems with fluoride
However, fluoride is cumulative and the body can’t remove or detoxify it.
This becomes a problem, especially for the brain and neurological development of young children.
It’s in the water we drink, the toothpaste we use daily and the processed foods we eat, meaning that so many of us are consuming dangerously higher levels than the recommended 1ppm by Dr Dean.
Added to these complications is the fact that artificially adding sodium fluoride to water has a vastly different effect on the body than drinking the naturally-occurring levels of calcium fluoride found in well water.
There is evidence to suggest that fluoride is:
Dr Dean Burk, who was the United States National Cancer Institute chief of cytochemistry for over 30 years, received multiple research papers showing that fluoride increases the cancer death rate.
When comparing the 10 largest US cities with fluoridation and the 10 largest without, researchers found that following fluoridation, deaths from cancer went up immediately. The shift in numbers was dramatic, even within just a 12-month period.
A February 2014 study in the journal Environmental Health stated: “A multivariate regression analysis showed that after socioeconomic status was controlled, each 1% increase in artificial fluoridation prevalence in 1992 was associated with approximately 67,000 to 131,000 additional ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) diagnoses from 2003 to 2011.”
• Disruptive to the endocrine system
The first report suggesting the negative effects of fluoride on the hormonal or endocrine system dates back over 160 years ago (Maumené, 1854).
Since then, there have been multiple research papers done on the impact of fluoride on the thyroid and pineal gland.
Calcification of the pineal gland is undoubtedly one of the most talked about and researched problems associated with fluoride.
Fluoride accumulates there more than in any other organ and leads to the formation of phosphate crystals that inhibit melatonin production.
Melatonin is a natural antioxidant, which also regulates our sleep patterns.
Hence, a calcified pineal gland leads to insomnia and other sleep-related disorders that greatly affect out mental and physical health.
Here are a few tips on how to detoxify fluoride from your body:
• Reduce the fluoride entering your body
Stop consuming fluoridated public water.
Most filtering systems use simple carbon filtration methods that ineffectively filter fluoride from public/tap water.
Reverse osmosis and ionizer filters do remove more fluoride than common carbon filters, but not all of it.
It is best to stop brushing teeth with fluoridated toothpaste.
Even using the recommended pea-size amount is problematic as small amounts of sodium fluoride will end up getting into your bloodstream, even though you spit out the toothpaste.
• Eat tamarinds and curcumin
A tamarind fluoride detox is an excellent and natural way to remove fluoride from the body.
Studies have shown that tamarind consumption results in the elevated excretion of fluoride through urination.
Regular consumption of curcumin or turmeric has also been proven to have a protective effect on the brain and neurological systems.
• Consume more iodine
Studies have shown that increased consumption of iodine displaces fluoride so it can be removed through urination.
Seaweed is the best natural source of iodine, and includes arame, bladderwrack, dulse, hijiki, kelp, irish moss, nori and wakame.
It is best to get seaweed products sourced from the Atlantic Ocean.
• Overall detox with boron
Boron is a natural mineral that exists in the environment and in food.
Just as iodine is an excellent fluoride detox for the thyroid, boron is an excellent fluoride detox for the bones and joints.
Skeletal fluorosis is a bone disease caused by excessive accumulation of fluoride in bones.
It results in bone brittleness, and joint and bone pain.
A study by Dr Rex Newman and colleagues noted that in areas where boron consumption was low, arthritis rates were high, and vice versa.
Natural food sources high in boron include almonds, avocados, dates, hazelnuts, prunes and raisins.
And if you read my previous article (Is it friend or foe?, Fit for life, Aug 28, 2016), you will remember that natural sea salt such as Celtic or Himalayan salt is a great source of naturally-occurring iodine and boron.
Applying these various fluoride detoxes together will allow for a more thorough and comprehensive detox across different tissue types and functions throughout the body.
• Pick a fluoride-free toothpaste
You can protect against the build-up of cavity-causing bacteria by brushing and rinsing your mouth morning and night.
The goal is to kill bacteria in the mouth, so do brush and gargle with a natural anti- bacterial substance like coconut oil, oil of oregano, or even a colloidal silver solution.
Next week, we will look at the possible impact on our health from ingested sources of mercury like amalgam fillings, and how to safely remove mercury and other neurotoxins from the body.