Digest Number 591

I'm a little worried about the fluoride thread.

I think some of the articles claiming that any fluoride is
poisonous/carcinogenic are as much junk science as the articles claiming
that any radiation (such as from cell phones) is carcinogenic.

Calcium fluoride hardens teeth and bones. This is necessary, since
calcium carbonate is actually quite soft (chalk, basically). This is
another case where the Taoist idea of "everything in moderation" is
probably the best guide. If you get too much fluoride, your teeth and
bones become too hard and actually become brittle. If you don't get
enough fluoride, your teeth and bones become too soft, and you can get
cavities. I once had a dentist who showed me a cavity on an x-ray but
said that it was small enough that he would try just prescribing
fluoride treatment. He gave me a bottle of the concentrated fluoride
gel they use in the in-office treatments, and told me to coat the tooth
in question with the gel every night at bedtime. At my next checkup, he
did another x-ray of that tooth, and the cavity was gone. However, this
same dentist had an assistant who was doing her graduate thesis on
fluorosis, which in mild cases like mine manifests itself as a mottling
of the teeth -- a primarily cosmetic issue (which I deal with by using
bleaching gel to turn the remainder of the tooth the same shade of
white). Both she and the dentist admitted that I, like most people my
age, had consumed too much fluoride through a "halo effect" of it being
not only in tap water and all toothpastes and mouthwashes, but in
anything that is made with tap water, such as juices from concentrate,
soups, etc. What this tells me is that the dental professionals who
know what they're doing recognize that too much fluoride can be a bad
thing, especially when ingested, but that the targeted TOPICAL use of
fluoride (such as on a single tooth to repair a cavity) has its benefits
as well, with an absolute lack of fluoride leading to rare conditions
that water fluoridation has pretty much eliminated (much like salt
iodization, and juice and bread fortification with vitamin C and folic
acid, have all but eliminated goiters, scurvy, and neural tube birth
defects). Perhaps now that all toothpastes are pretty much fluoridated,
water fluoridation is no longer a good idea. I certainly know that most
reputable chefs refuse to use iodized salt anymore, because it tastes
too metallic, and all of their patrons are getting enough iodide
elsewhere in their diet.

I realize that my story about the repaired cavity is only anecdotal, a
statistical sample size of only one, and not enough to refute what has
been posted so far. But I hope it's enough to make you at least
question whether those articles were indeed (or at least bordering on)
junk science. That's not to say that this issue isn't worth
investigating for a policy initiative, but I'd certainly suggest not
forwarding any of the "all fluoride is poison" articles and just stick
to that first fairly even-handed Rothbard one, since we don't want to
lend credence to the "right wing kook" theories, when much more
reasonable arguments (like all toothpastes having fluoride nowadays,
questioning whether aluminum fluoride is as useful as calcium fluoride,
etc.) have much less of a "kook" feel to them.


There are 5 messages in this issue.

Topics in this digest:

1. Re: ENC: Fluoridation Revisited
From: Starchild <sfdreamer@earthlink.net>
2. Re: Re: ENC: Fluoridation Revisited
From: "Dr. Michael R. Edelstein" <dredelstein@threeminutetherapy..com>
3. August Treasurer's Report
From: "Acree, Michael" <acreem@ocim.ucsf.edu>
4. RE: Re: ENC: Fluoridation Revisited
From: "Acree, Michael" <acreem@ocim.ucsf.edu>
5. Re: August Treasurer's Report
From: "Amarcy D. Berry" <amarcyb@hotmail.com>

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