by Mustafa Abdoh
Mass hysteria floods the public psyche, panic in the media, incessant buzzing of rumor emanating from the lips of those around you. You lack the comfort you once knew from the moment you were first vicariously touched by the monster’s invisible hand. No longer can you rest at ease in the once-gratifying presence of a crystalline glass of water now that your eyes are opened to the heinous and insatiable appetite of this venomous fiend.
There is no place on this earth in which this villain, Fluoride, could possibly reside and simultaneously hold up a respectable reputation as an upstanding compound. Hence forth and forevermore we should ban him from our pipelines and dental products and return to a time before the introduction of “big government’s” proxy in human extermination (for the obvious reason that governments are just too lazy to do the killing themselves!) By and by, if we’re going to die, why not get to know the reaper before he reaps?
Propaganda and lies!!!
Fluoride, as it likes to be called, can really be thought of as a coalition group of chemical compounds containing the element fluorine (chemical symbol F). Fluorine can be considered the biological parent of all fluoride compounds, but interestingly enough you can’t find it isolated in nature because it is so electronegative. This property of fluorine means that if it is alone in the wild, it’ll ravenously grab the nearest element’s electrons and never give them back, much like a spoiled toddler.
Unlike fluorine, which as we’ve said you’ll never find unless you are at the scene of a sun gone supernova, fluorides are literally everywhere, in small doses that is. Fluorides occur naturally in water and soil, as well as trace quantities in the air from various pollutants.
I am confident you can grapple with the idea that fluorides are everywhere, but surely you are content knowing that the chemical is far from entering your loved ones’ bodies (and yourself, because you love yourself no?) Of course you are! And I proceed with even greater certainty that the structural integrity of your very being would be better off if it never even heard the name fluoride again. Yes indeed, pay no mind to the fact that fluorides are essential to the fortification of bone and teeth, and that your body contains the appropriate mechanisms for responding to excesses of the compound.
Actually, maybe you should pay mind to that, literally devote all your attention to this last sentence. That image of a scythe-wielding fluoride molecule floating around and tearing up your innards might not hold up to all the hype. Perhaps those sweaty palms and shaky knees, which arise from the compounds mentioned, might not be due to its ill effects but rather due to a mild case of xenophobia (what is fluoride, Latin? That’s so foreign).
To find a cure, let’s start close to home – with bones. Bones are structured in a lattice network, an ordered and repetitive organization of molecules, comprised of a compound called carbonated hydroxyl apatite. This compound is responsible for maintaining bone strength. When fluoride is absorbed from the bloodstream into the bone, it is dispersed throughout the bone lattice and randomly replaces the hydroxyl groups from some of the apatite molecules, creating carbonated fluoroapatite.
This is in your bones, pretty isn’t it, it has phosphate, calcium…… and fluoride
Despite being a tantalizing name for a fizzy mouthwash, this compound, which your bones have synthesized, alters bone density and structure as well as increases resistance to acid corrosion, as fluoroapatite is more stable than hydroxyl apatite. Therefore fluoride acts as a preventative agent against osteoporosis at natural levels.
Now you see that fluoride knows its way around your bones. But from my personal experience, I have never excised a femur to lather it in toothpaste so that I may strengthen some skeleton. Last I checked, toothpaste, a prime source of fluoride, is traditionally meant for teeth. Teeth, while they themselves are not bone, similarly contain hydroxyapatite. The substitution with fluoroapatite in the enamel therefore acts in exactly the same manner and with the same benefits.
Now imagine a steaming, rich chocolate cake filled with layers of soft lustrous cream and topped with the ripest assortment of your favorite fruit. Excellent work! You employed the expert reinforcement of fluoride to coat your enamel! This is true because fluoride reaches your teeth not by blood but by saliva. Every time you salivate (drool) at the thought or sight of decadent nourishment, fluoride reacts with the dental surface and prevents acid corrosion caused by carbohydrates, like those found in cake.
Fluoride is also a serial killer, to put it bluntly. You are in an eternal struggle with it in every waking moment. You battle the fiend as he eradicates enumerable masses. He takes life without regard. Bacteria never stood a chance. As much as you fed them and nurtured each single celled angel, the heartless beast sought them out and took them from you with frigid efficacy.
The war effort was launched by our ancestors after the industrial revolution. A dramatic increase in grain and sugars boosted life expectancy and allowed the peoples to follow god’s promise and multiply fruitfully. But the increase in fruit and other delicacies in the human diet have allowed the colonies of naturally occurring bacteria in our mouths to multiply to absurd levels, giving rise to dental caries, or in mundane speech, cavities.
The primary culprit in the causation of corrosive caries is none other than streptococcus mutans. Researchers conducted a comparative study to discern the efficacy of fluoride toothpastes in contrast to their natural counterparts. The results revealed that the “zone of inhibition” where the bacteria could not cross was largest in the fluoride group. The natural toothpastes also had zones of inhibition, yet the fluoride content contributed significantly to the repulsion of the bacterial horde.
The face that launched 1000 brushes
To be frank, the visage of fluoride, like many other topics strewn into the media limelight, has been distorted beyond reason; however, such phenomenon is not without cause. Like every stereotype, there is truth in the sea of illusion engulfing fluoride.
You remember fluorine right? Fluorine is designated as a trace element required for our continued existence, like selenium or iodine. It is called “trace” due to the miniscule concentrations in which it is present, leaving only traces of it for us to observe. The issue arises when fluoride concentrations exceed appropriate levels, where the once benevolent champion of pearly white goes from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde.
The ultimate irony in fluoride poisoning is that all of the positive effects fluoride strives to uphold are actually reversed. Basically, this amounts to your teeth and bones corroding due to skeletal and dental fluorosis.
Fluorosis (both of the dental and skeletal variety) occurs when the fluoride molecule competes with the other molecules for the calcium in the body, destroying the crystal lattice of bone and enamel; it renders them porous and unstable like brittle sponges.
However that’s only the irony. The real problem is not that you will be a spineless gum-toothed jellyfish, but that fluoride will also attack your DNA.
Fluoride is processed rather well by the liver; elevated blood concentrations of fluoride last no more than an hour, after which excess awaits you to visit the porcelain palace to empty your bladder. When an overdose occurs, however, the liver cells will take in fluoride. This process was observed in a study on rats.
Several groups of rats were given increasing levels of up to 200ppm (parts per million) of sodium fluoride in their drinking water with the control group receiving no added sodium fluoride. Unbeknownst to the rodents, the extra fluoride-salty water they were consuming encouraged apoptosis, or cell death, in the liver.
The fluoride activates this gene expression for p53 and caspase-3 proteins, encouraging the self-destruction of the cells. The fluoride actively alters the DNA to further encourage the transcription and production of these proteins. As more cells burst, the livers swell and the rat is slowly stripped of its bio toxin filter.
Despite the fact that these rats were given 12-50 times the appropriate levels of fluoride, people fear fluoride. In Australia, groups and individuals have levied all of the arguments as to why water fluoridation is a bad idea, going as far as linking water fluoridation to the Nazis and lowered child IQ.
It has fluoride in bold and black and white, it has to be true!!!
In this particular Australian case, the public health care costs due to dental caries outweighs the costs of water fluoridation seven-fold. While fluoridated water is already available to 85% of the population as of 2009, the debate continues, with both sides shouting science and hysteria on the matter of fluoride. Yet the question remains, how much is safe?
If we leave the land down under and return to the land from sea to shining sea, we find that in 2011, the shimmering pools of fluoridated water were found to contain concentrations of fluoride that, while previously deemed safe, are now considered too high. The U.S Department of Health and Human Services lowered the previous fluoride level from 4ppm to a mere range of 0.7-1.2ppm. Changes like these, and the expanding body of research on the subjects of water fluoridation, are what fuels the fiery debate like that in Australia. But at the end of the day, we can always blame the Nazis and fluoride for why we failed that 9th grade geometry test.
So, fluoride can literally change who you are on the inside, for better or for worse, kind of like a best friend. Too much of a best friend can tear you apart, but just enough will give you the support you need to live a prosperous and joyous life.