the fluoride question

I am not writing this because I know it all about fluoride, but if you look it up in the dictionary you will be surprised, first it will tell you:

1. a salt of hydrofluoric acid consisting of two elements, one of which is fluorine, as sodium fluoride.
2. a compound containing fluorine, as methyl fluoride.

...then look up 'fluorine' and you will find this:

1. the most reactive nonmetallic element, a pale-ellow, corrosive, toxic gas that occurs combined, esp. in fluorite, cryolite, phosphate rock, and other minerals.

then there is 'sodium fluorine':
sodium fluoride -
a colorless, crystalline, water-soluble, poisonous solid, NaF, used chiefly in the fluoridation of water, as an insecticide, and as a rodenticide.

ok, now put your eyeballs back in your head...fluoride is not as bad as it sounds...or is it? either way, I think it's a good idea to be pretty careful when sliding this onto your kids toothbrush (you really shouldn't use it until they are at least 6 years old). This shock and surprise also works if you look at a tube of commercial toothpaste, and read the small print: ‘keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age. If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately.’

this is one of those parenting decisions you have to make, we have a little bit of trouble with our teeth in our family so we are having the fluoride dilemma...and we have chosen to only use it when the dentist puts it on their teeth twice a year. we also tested our well water and it has a tiny amount of naturally occurring fluoride as well, so we leave it at that. there are mountains of studies on this so I think it's one of those things were you go to people you trust so today I took a look at the website of Dr. Warren King. I think that Dr. King can help you to make some decisions for yourself as well on the subject, but whatever you decide you should really test your water before you use fluoride toothpaste as you may be getting enough from your water.

but I will tell you this...listen very closely...start brushing those teeth as soon as they show up! it's important! obviously you don't need toothpaste at first but then, what to do when you do need it...well once again, weleda to the rescue! they make a wonderful kids toothpaste, there are many others out there that I am sure are fine just read the fine print to be sure! and happy brushing...I hope I didn't scare you!


Tyler said...

great post. we've all switched to 'tom's of maine' (orange mango for my 2 year old). in the past two years i've read and seen all labels anew. i too have been amazed at the things we put in and on our bodies. balancing smart with sane...alas, the job of the mommy. thanks again for the insight.

Karen said...

thanks for the post, carina. i have been so torn over the flouride thing, this gives me more insight into the whole debate.

tumbletell said...

our pediatrician prescribed a fluoride supplement for my 2 year old to take. it is a tiny chewable tablet.
we use tom's of maine fluoride-free children's toothpaste so i don't worry about him accidentally swallowing too much.

robin said...

this is interesting...in elementary school, i was part of a flouride study where we had flouride treatments once a week from first grade through sixth grade. i didn't get a cavity until i was 30 years old and was only drinking bottled water (no flouride).

Dr. Christensen said...

It is great to make an informed decision. As with all things, fluoride is best used in moderation - too much of any mineral, vitamin, etc will make someone sick - the same goes with having too little. As a dentist I tell parents this: the best thing you can do for your child is teach healthy eating habits that do not include sugar sources - even natural ones like fruit juices.