"After a handshake, a friendly smile is one of the most important elements in creating a good first impression. However, it's hard to smile if you're self-conscious about teeth that are yellow or stained." [University of New York, School of Dental Medicine, Oral Health Letter]
According to the U.S. Public Health Service, fluoride makes dental enamel more porous, and makes bones more brittle.
The toxic effects of fluorosis take three forms: skeletal, clinical (non-skeletal) and dental (enamel). Dental fluorosis is extensively described by toxicologists as the first visible sign of chronic fluoride poisoning [Taber, CW. Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, F.A. Davis Co., Philadelphia, PA, 1994
]. Research thus far indicates that the manifestations of fluorosis are irreversible.Dental Fluorosis
A 1998 survey by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry showed that:
- More than 92% of adults agree that an attractive smile is an important social asset
- 85% believe that an unattractive smile makes a person less appealing to the opposite sex
- 75% believe that an unattractive smile can be detrimental to a person's chances of career success
- Half of the respondents see unattractive teeth as a sign of poor personal hygiene.
The disease known as crippling skeletal fluorosis develops in stages, with phase two described as chronic joint pain, dose-related calcification of ligaments, osteosclerosis, and possible osteoporosis
. Phase three includes "crippling deformities of the spine and major joints."
According to the U.S. government experts, most people currently ingest about four times as much fluoride as they did during the early days of water fluoridation – approximately equally divided between drinking water, food, other beverages, and dental products.
Incidence; Causes and Development
According to the UK Government's systematic scientific review on water fluoridation, carried out at York University, some 48% of people living in areas with fluoridated water are affected by dental fluorosis. In England, this translates to nearly three million individuals who have fluorosed teeth to some degree. For three quarters of a million people, dental fluorosis is of the "moderate to severe" degree. [McDonagh MS, Whiting PF, Wilson PM, Sutton AJ, Chestnutt I, Cooper J, Misso K, Bradley M, Treasure E, Kleijnen J. Systematic review of water fluoridation. BMJ 2000; 321: pp.855-9
Fluorosis is increasing significantly in areas with and without artificially fluoridated water and is caused by over-exposure to fluorides from all sources, e.g. fluoridated water, fluoride toothpaste, mouth rinses, drops, tablets, gels, sealants and fluoridated school milk programmes. Fluorides are also found in foodstuffs, beverages, (particularly tea), medicines, anesthetics, pesticides, herbicides and in the polluted air we breathe.
Fluoride wastes are created through the production of aluminum, steel, cement, glass, fertilizer, fuels, refrigerants, rat poison, pesticides, uranium and many other items. They are released into the air, water and soil, constantly increasing our exposure to this bioaccumulative substance which is more toxic than lead.
Diagnosis and Tests
The diagnosis of skeletal fluorosis, until recent years, was made with the help of radiographs which reveal interosseous membrane calcification, enhanced bone density, and bone mass. These are, however, late characteristics of the disease. Recognizing the disease at such late stages does not help prevention. The disease is usually irreversible by then.
In 1985, following a review commissioned by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an independent panel of behavioral scientists found that people with moderate to severe fluorosis are at increased risk of experiencing psychological and behavioral problems. [Drinking Water Regulations; Fluoride. 50 Fed. Reg. 220, 47144 (1985), Welbury, P, Shaw, L. A simple technique for removal of mottling, opacities and pigmentation. Dental Update 1990; 17: 161-3
]Major Related Diagnoses:Alzheimer's disease
/demyelinizing diseases, anemia
, breast cancer, carpal tunnel syndrome
, decrease in testosterone
/spermatogenesis, altered vas deferens/testicular
growth, decreased dental arch, dental crowding, delayed tooth eruption, diabetes insipidus
, Down syndrome, early onset of puberty
, eye/ear/nose disorders, fever, gastro-intestinal disturbances, gingivitis
, heart disorders, hypertension
, hypoplasia, hypothyroidism
dysfunction, osteosarcoma, low birth weight, candidiasis
, multiple sclerosis
, oral squamous cell carcinoma
, Parkinson's disease
, slurred speech, skin irritations, ankylosing spondylitis
, ulcerative colitis
cancer, vaginal bleeding, weak pulse.