REFLECTIONS ON AN UNFLUORIDATED CHILDHOOD

I vividly rcall the day my mother took me for my fluoride treatment.  I was barely seven years old.  The dentist, a roly-poly man named Dr. Kramer, with the endearing though odd habit of handing every child a piece of candy the minute we stepped out of the chair, soaked some cotton cylinders in a clear liquid, stuffed them into the four corners of my mouth against my teeth, and ordered me to keep them there for what seemed forever.  It was uncomfortable but not painful – nothing especially noteworthy.  Afterward, though, as I stood nibbling at my treat, I overheard the dentist and my mother talking.  He was extolling the virtues of fluoride to her, telling her how wonderful a cavity-fighter it was.  So wonderful, in fact, that they were going to put it in the drinking water. 

In the water!  Now that got my attention.  They were going to put something in the water that would keep us kids from getting cavities.  I’d already had a baby tooth filled and didn’t want to repeat that experience.  It sounded great to me.  At the time, I assumed it was going to happen right away.   

Three or four years later, the school dentist paid my class a visit.  We lined up for our five minutes with him, and when he came to me, he exclaimed in a booming voice, “Where’d you get those healthy teeth?”  I blushed, tongue-tied.  Yet I knew the answer.  I inherited them.  And I took good care of my inheritance:  ate healthy foods, avoided excessive sweets, brushed regularly. It struck me, at that moment, that this fluoride stuff, whatever it was, didn’t amount to much.  My classmates ran the full spectrum of dental health from “Look, Ma, no cavities!” to extremely poor.  Clearly, diet, hygiene and inheritance were the predominant factors – just as my parents always told me.  As it turned out, I was wrong about one thing.  Fluoridation was not implemented in St. Louis, my hometown, until several years after my memorable dental appointment, and by that time we had moved to the suburbs.  By the time it arrived at the suburbs, I was an adult, and gone.  I grew up without drinking fluoride, for which I count myself fortunate.  And I still have all my teeth. 

Recently I asked my mother, who’s 90 – and still has her own teeth – whether she remembered that long-ago visit to Dr. Kramer’s office.  She did not.  She did, however, well remember the controversy surrounding water fluoridation in the 1950’s.  “I couldn’t believe that they actually went ahead with it,” she told me.  “Everyone knew it was bad.”  

How things change!  Today, everyone “knows” it’s good, and the pro-fluoridation juggernaut steamrolls on, relentlessly bent on making our nation’s public water systems 100% fluoridated (the current figure stands at around 70%).  This highly organized alliance of beauracrats, coporate types and politicians with an agenda to push and enormous money behind it is largely responsible for our present predicament.  Meanwhile, rates of osteoporosis and bone cancer skyrocket, and dental fluorosis is now endemic among American schoolchildren. 

Fluorosis is a permanent structural defect of the teeth caused by early exposure to too much fluoride.  At the upper right of this blog is a photograph showing it in the “mild” form likely to result from fluoridation adjusted to a level of 0.8 parts per million, as in Austin.  Those beautifully-shaped teeth were intended by Nature to be perfect.  Instead, the white flecks betray a subsurface porosity that renders them susceptible to future brittleness and decay-proneness.  The condition can be treated cosmetically, but the underlying damage will remain. 

Watchdog organizations like the Fluoride Action Network (www.fluoridealert.org) and Citizens for Safe Drinking Water (www.keepersofthewell.org)  do an excellent job of keeping the public informed on fluoride-related issues, particularly the latest research.  Unfortunately, the profit-motivated pro-fluoride lobby cares little for scientific facts:  this has been shown time and time again.  But fortunately, fluoridation programs are carried out at the local level.  That’s why it’s important to help our local officials understand water fluoridation for the very personal threat it is.  There is no hiding from fluoride behind bottled water.  We bathe in it; we risk exposure to it every time we eat away from home; we consume it in sodas, beer, wine, juices, even health drinks bottled in fluoridated areas.  To endorse fluoridation – once the facts are known – is to consciously endorse lifelong unnecessary health problems for ourselves and our children.   And who would ever want to make a choice like that?




4 thoughts on “REFLECTIONS ON AN UNFLUORIDATED CHILDHOOD”

  1. Greetings from Melbourne,Australia.
    I heard your call to AJ’s show(streamed)and looked up this site and want to say “Well done!”
    I’m a 60’s child concerned about the same appalling situation and my memories aren’t that dissimilar to yours.I have osteoporosis,Mum has early dementia,and both of us have had cancer,btw,and my childhood dentist,Dr.Nash(would you believe!)also completely drilled out my molars and filled them with amalgam-thus I am very aware of the ramifications of fluoride,mercury and heavy metals on the body.
    I encourage and praise the work you’re doing.Take care and stay safe,Annie

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