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Dental fluorosis may be a red flag for future bone fractures, according to a study(1) by Alarcon-Herrera, et al., in the Journal, "Fluoride," (Vol. 34, No. 2) reports the New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation.
Fluoride, added to over 62% of U.S. water supplies, is purported to topically prevent tooth decay. However, ingested fluoride incorporates into children's developing bones and teeth. The only visual symptom of fluoride toxicity, dental fluorosis -- white spotted, yellow, brown or black stained and sometimes pitted teeth, has increased dramatically in U.S. children(2), but is dismissed by dentists as merely a cosmetic defect. But dentists may be wrong.
In this study, dental fluorosis was associated with bone fractures in children and adults who live in naturally fluoridated areas of Mexico.
"As the fluoride concentrations in the home water supplies increased, both the prevalence and severity of dental fluorosis increased," writes Alarcon-Herrera. "...the highest fracture incidence for both groups was found in the fluoride concentration levels of 1.51 to 4.99 mg/L."
The U.S. intentionally adds up to 1.2 milligrams fluoride per liter of water (mg/L). The average daily ingestion of fluoride from all sources in a fluoridated community ranges from roughly 1.6 to 6.6 mg/day, according to a 1991 review by the US Public Health Service.
"Thus, far from dental fluorosis being an inconvenient cosmetic problem, it may be an indicator of early bone damage," says Chemistry Professor Paul Connett, Ph.D., founding member of the Fluoride Action Network. "What we need to know is how much fluoride is being deposited n our bones. Sadly, there is a glaring absence of such data." says Connett.
"It is known that fluoride has negative effects on bone cell metabolism. It may increase bone quantity, but it can also decrease bone quality and strength...The correlation of bone fractures and dental fluorosis seems to be linear," conclude Alarcon-Herrera.
Alarcon-Herrera and colleagues counted only bone fractures that had occurred without apparent cause, those that were not the result of a clear major or minor trauma. "... the relative prevalence of such fractures among the children in relation to years of exposure to fluoride is greater than in the adults," Alarcon-Herrera found.
"Meanwhile, it is now clear from numerous animal and clinical studies that fluoride decreases the strength of bone. Indeed, the question is not whether fluoride can reduce the strength of bone, but, at what level?" says Connett.
"What's striking is that bone damage is occurring in clinical studies at cumulative doses well within the current estimates for how much fluoride people living in fluoridated areas will be receiving in their lifetimes," says Connett.