By Dr. Susanne Bennett
As parents, we all want to ensure that our children and loved ones eat healthy, unadulterated food, free of hormones, pesticides and chemicals. But are we as vigilant about the liquids and drinks we ingest? Did you know that there is a hidden chemical in most beverages and liquids we consume, including tap water, the iced tea served by most restaurants, your child’s favorite soup from the local deli, even your glass of red wine? A vast majority of beverages and foods that are made with municipal drinking water in the US will contain a chemical additive called fluoride. If ingested in large amounts, fluoride may be harmful to the body, particularly in children.
What is Fluoride? Fluoride is a compound produced from fluorine, one of Earth’s natural elements, and is a chemical byproduct in the manufacturing of aluminum, phosphate, cement, steel and nuclear weapons. Toothpaste and mouth rinses are well known for containing fluoride, to help prevent tooth decay and cavities. However, many recent dental studies have indicated that fluoride works best from the outside surface of the tooth, not from swallowing it into the body.
It is all the more difficult to know the amount of fluoride we ingest from non-dental sources. We can’t measure how much fluoride is in the packaged foods and drinks we pick up at the store. Fluoridated water is used in prescription medications including antibiotics and anesthesia. Black, green and white teas are natural carriers of high fluoride content. Fluoride toxicity has been linked to bone deformity, sleep and thyroid disorders, and joint problems.
How to prevent fluoride accumulation and toxicity? Here are some common-sense things to do that can significantly lower the risk of fluoride overexposure:
- Drink non-fluoridated, purified or distilled bottled water. Distilled water has been called “dead water”; and though it is void of healthy minerals, it is also completely pure of toxins. You can always add a shot of electrolytes or some fresh lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt to water to add taste and natural minerals back in.
- Invest in a reverse osmosis/solid block carbon filtration unit (RO) to purify your own tap water at your kitchen sink. An RO/carbon unit will filter out all impurities including fluoride, heavy metals, nuclear waste and microbes.• Use RO, purified or distilled bottled water for all homemade food, beverages and liquids, including soup, pasta and rice, baby formula and food, coffee, tea, ice, juice, popsicles, and for rinsing fruits and vegetables.
- For lunch boxes, fill your children’s Bisphenol A (BPA)-free or sleeved glass water bottles with purified water. Most schools do not purify their drinking fountain water.
- Children under 2 years old should not use fluoridated toothpaste.
- Young children under the age of 8 years old should be supervised regarding the amount of toothpaste applied to their toothbrush. Due to the swallowing reflex, they may swallow more toothpaste than they actually spit out. Another option is fluoride-free toothpaste, which is available at most health food stores and pharmacies.
Dr. Susanne Bennett, D.C., CCSP is a holistic chiropractic physician specializing in allergies, environmental and longevity medicine, chemical and mold detoxification, lifestyle medicine and anti-aging skin therapeutics. Visit Dr. Bennett at http://www.drsusannebennett.com.