October is Dental Hygiene Month, but not all dentists will be touting the alleged benefits of fluoride. In fact, the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) is using this month to raise awareness of the health risks associated with fluoride. This is especially timely because of a recent study linking fluoride exposure in utero with lower IQs. It begs the question: Is fluoride bad for you? Many experts are answering with a resounding 'Yes!'The IAOMT is an organization of over 800 dentists, physicians, and research professionals in more than 14 countries, and the non-profit organization has been dedicated to its mission of protecting public health since it was founded in 1984. Since that time, the group has continually collected, examined, and reviewed studies and research articles about the topic of 'Is fluoride bad for you' and other dental materials and practices."IAOMT and its members have been independently studying the toxicity of fluoride for decades," Matthew Young, DDS, President of the IAOMT, explains. "For dentistry, as an ethical profession, it is imperative to uphold the concepts of 'do no harm.' Fluoride has traditionally been seen as a panacea for dental disease without the knowledge of its inherent harm to the human body. We need to seek less toxic alternatives and work to improve human health with the safest approach."This week, the IAOMT is officially releasing a variety of new fluoride awareness resources available for free on their website. The materials were developed based on the group's new Position Paper against Fluoride Use in Water, Dental Materials, and Other Products. Hundreds of scientific studies and research articles were analyzed to create this detailed document, which includes over 500 citations supporting the potential for fluoride to cause adverse health outcomes.[caption id="attachment_13853" align="alignnone" width="300"]
Dental fluorosis is a sign of fluoride toxicity and can range from very mild to severe. This photo is from Dr. David Kennedy of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) and is used with permission from victims of dental fluorosis.[/caption]The IAOMT's official position is that given the elevated number of fluoride sources and the increased rates of fluoride intake in the American population, which have risen substantially since water fluoridation began in the 1940's, it has become a necessity to reduce and work toward eliminating avoidable sources of fluoride exposure, including water fluoridation, fluoride-containing dental materials, and other fluoridated products. Is fluoride bad for you? It would certainly seem like it's a substance that we need to limit."Ingesting synthetic fluoride, such as that added to community water, is not only ineffective at reducing tooth decay, but it also exposes our population to a number of toxins," David Kennedy, DDS, lead author of the IAOMT Fluoride Position Paper, cautions. "American children are already being overdosed with fluoride, as is evidenced by the increase in tooth mottling (fluorosis), which now occurs to some degree in a majority of our youth. The National Research Council determined that many individuals are exceptionally vulnerable to the toxic effects of fluoride. When will people realize that scientific research offers grave warnings about fluoride? Don't we all deserve safe water?"