Parenting isn’t easy.
If you’re not being awakened at night or having to quell arguments between siblings, you’re researching like mad trying to figure out the best foods to feed your brood, and then making the time to cook from scratch and source quality ingredients.
You have decisions to make about the health, schooling, and faith formation of little tiny beings who have no one to depend upon other than you.
It’s a big, scary job.
And the culture we live in doesn’t make it any easier.
From the pressure to seek momentary fun over lasting relationships to the junk food we’re bombarded with everywhere we look, I can think of about a hundred reasons our culture is toxic to families and growing children, and it’s daunting to try to figure out how to balance living IN the world with the need to NOT live a “worldly” lifestyle.
Then there’s the research. Any fact you find about nutrition and natural health will almost immediately have a counter-point that says exactly the opposite. It can be really difficult and frustrating, almost painful, to make decisions that will impact your children’s physical and emotional health when the “right choice” is rarely in black and white.
“Get Out of the Pool!”
Remember this scene in the movie Erin Brockovich? It’s a beautiful sunny day, and children are gaily splashing in the pool in the background. Julia Roberts, playing the title role, has just explained to the mother suffering from cancer that the water is tainted with toxic, cancer-causing chemicals from the local plant.
I first watched the movie as a single person, and I could feel the palpable terror in the mother’s heart as she digested the information…she suddenly screams at her children to get out of the pool immediately and nearly has a breakdown. Nothing had changed about her world except the information she had just been given. The water had always been harmful, even though it looked crystal clear and good for drinking. This mother can do nothing about the water her children had played in for the past hour, nor about the water they’d consumed in all their years in that home.
When I watched the movie after becoming a mother, this scene became wholly terrifying in the depths of my soul. My mouth went dry, my heart palpitated, my hands were chilled, and I emphasized with that mother to the nth degree.
It’s easy to become a bit overwhelmed when confronted with a wealth of new information about hazards in our world. This scene depicts exactly how I used to feel as I gazed around my house when I first started learning about natural health and all the hazards we all live with.
What toxins are in my water? What pesticides might be on that lettuce? If I push the “start” button on my microwave, how does it affect my food? My children’s brains? It takes all my willpower not to run outside screaming, “Get out of the pool, NOW!!!!”
If I did that in my situation, we’d have nothing to eat, so it wouldn’t be very practical. You can’t just “get out of the pool” of the world of food: purchasing, preparation and storage. You can’t just quit taking showers and drinking the water.
When confronted with conflicting information, there’s nothing to do but make a choice, even when all you want to do is…nothing. Ignorance isn’t bliss, unfortunately, and once you have the knowledge you can only pray and do what you can. It’s a frustrating venture and tempting to fall into paranoia and paralysis. I’m hoping that writing this blog will both help me navigate the perilous waters of nutrition information, and give others an easy source of information with which to make their own good decisions, learning from my mistakes (but not taking everything I say as gospel).
Today I’m going to muddy the oral health waters by sharing a video by a dentist on fluoridated water. If you’ve been overwhelmed recently and don’t want to think about one more thing…well…don’t watch this.
If you cannot see the video above, click HERE to view on You Tube.
Dr. David Kennedy, a dentist, is speaking on risk analysis of adding fluoride to city water at a metropolitan water district public hearing in Los Angeles, CA, in 2007. (He was also a speaker at two sessions at the HealThy Mouth Summit, which you can still purchase for over 21 hours of professional oral health interviews. Massive amounts of information!)
For those of you who hate watching videos like I do, I took the hit for you. Here are some notes:
- When talking about drugs or anything one takes, there is a phrase: “Dose alone makes the poison.”
- Recommended dose of fluoride for a baby = NONE.
- Fluoridated water then delivers a dose to babies that would be gross malpractice if a doctor wrote a scrip for that amount.
- That’s why formula is not supposed to be mixed up with tap water.
- Even the American Dental Association, who wholeheartedly supports water fluoridation, reminds its members (privately) that “if…formula is the primary source of nutrition, it should be mixed with water that is fluoride-free to reduce the risk of fluorosis.
- This isn’t “dental fluorosis,” it’s the whole body – nerves, ligaments, endocrine system, brain… (the images of a boy whom I assume suffers from fluorosis are freaky here). When you overdose on fluoride, the effects are systemic (and serious).
- Fluoride works topically, and even then you can overdose, which is dental fluorosis, spotty teeth, and it looks like this, in a very mild case, according to the video:
And this from the CDC website:
- The level of fluorosis is proportional to the levels of fluoride in the water supply.
- It is expensive to fix!
- Dr. Kennedy specifically warns his audience that if they add fluoride to the water and do NOT warn their community that “it is no longer safe to drink” because of the increased risk of fluorosis, they could be held accountable for the billions of dollars it costs to fix stained teeth. (Not to mention the actual fluorosis…)
Research: Dental Fluorosis
It doesn’t sound like a big deal, staining of teeth – but think of the billion dollar industry built on “teeth whitening” and “bleaching!”
Fluorosis happens when a child is exposed to fluoride as the permanent teeth are forming under the gums. Kids over about 8 years old are no longer at risk. (CDC) The ADA agrees that it’s only aesthetic, not a “disease.”
Skeletal fluorosis, which really only happens at doses higher than the CDC recommended levels in city water, is another story. It effects the joints with stiffness and then arthritic symptoms, reduces bone mass and causes osteoporosis, and can even completely cripple people and lead to muscle wasting disease. (1, 2)
It’s unlikely that city water would cause systemic fluorosis, but it’s also strange that no one can know exactly the dose of fluoride people are getting, because who knows how much contact with fluoridated water, both topically and ingesting, a single person has in their lifetime? Couple that with the fact that little bodies will be impacted more by the same “dose” in the water, and I’m glad we have fluoride filters in our Berkey.
On Fluoride Load
A second speaker finishes the latter half of the 9-minute video and shares many graphs of just how much fluoride the average citizen of various ages is expected to consume.
The greatest “dose per pound” is formula-fed infants, followed closely by people who work outside, children who drink a lot of water, and athletes.
She shares “no effect levels” that are actually below the CDC’s “safe” level. She recommends that the CDC’s level be lower, and also points out that many people, especially those in the groups listed above, will consume quite a bit more fluoride than the “no effect” levels.
She closes by quoting someone from 1956 and says it is still relevant today:
“It is obvious from the knowledge of fluoride toxicity that such factor of safety cannot be established when fluoride is added to the public water supply at the level recommended by proponents of fluoridation…”
Even though fluoride may be helpful topically, like in toothpaste, I choose to avoid it there, too, because it’s not necessary and could compound with other sources of fluoride.
Other Oral Health Posts:
- My Experience with Oil Pulling – for Sensitive Teeth
- Safe Toothpaste – SLS, fluoride, artificial sweeteners, and other things to avoid
- Natural Toothpaste Reviews
- Bass Brushing System – how to brush your teeth like an adult
- Oil Pulling Successes and Tips