A new study pre-published in Environmental Health Perspectives, a publication of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, shows that exposure to fluoride may lower children’s intelligence. Fluoride is added to 70% of U.S. public drinking water supplies.
More than 500 children aged 8 to 13 from two different towns were studied and tested. One city had fluoridated water, and the other did not.
The results showed that approximately 28% of the children in the low-fluoride area scored as bright, normal or higher intelligence compared to only 8% in the high-fluoride area. In the high-fluoride city, 15% had scores indicating mental retardation, as compared to only 6% in the low-fluoride city.
Fluoride has also been a concern because of fluorosis, a dental condition that can result from consuming too much of the mineral fluoride. It mostly results in tiny white flecks or streaks on teeth. In extreme cases, it causes discoloration and pitting of the tooth enamel. This affects children under the age of 8.
One way to avoid too much fluoride is to read your toothpaste label and limit the amount of toothpaste used by kids under 6. They should only use a pea-sized amount. Watch them brush and make sure they spit out the toothpaste – not swallow it. Even better is to use a fluoride-free toothpaste especially designed for children. Companies like Weleda, Jason Naturals and Tom’s of Maine all make fluoride-free toothpaste for children and adults.
You can also check the fluoride level in your water supply. Public water systems are required to provide annual reports that include fluoride levels. Check their website or the CDC’s My Water’s Fluoride.