Michelle says: I am not even sure I trust the dentists to do the teeth whitening. They say they can carefully control the application, but I am still really skeptical that the H2O2 itself cannot do long term damage to the enamel – and if one wants to be cynical – more business for them in the future in terms of cavities. After all this is still a profession that gives patients high dose fluoride treatments when the ex-head of the EPA under Clinton stated that when they did their internal testing, there was no more potent carcinogen than fluoride, and informed governments around the world are starting to remove it from the water supply.
The Beauty Brains respond:
Michelle’s comment comes from our recent post on using OxyClean to whiten teeth and we felt it deserved a quick rebuttal.
Is there a link between fluoride and cancer?
Fluoride and tooth decay share a long and interesting history. It all started with the discovery that people living in areas with water supplies with naturally occurring fluoride had lower incidence of cavities. This knowledge led to the addition of fluoride not only to toothpastes but to public drinking water. The latter prompted rumors of a Communist conspiracy which, mostly, have faded away. Health concerns associated with fluoride remain but there seems to be little data to indicate there’s really a problem in regard to cancer. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, adding fluoride to water supplies has been “one of the greatest achievements in public health in the 20th century.”
More importantly, multiple animal and human studies have failed to show a link between fluoride and cancer. Researchers reviewed over 2.2 million cancer death records and 125,000 cancer case records from places where fluoridated water is used and found no indication of increased cancer risk. You can read all the details at cancer.gov.
Are governments removing fluoride from water supplies?
Michelle’s comment about “informed governments” removing fluoride from drinking water is interesting but we could find no evidence to support that notion. It is true that too much fluoride can cause a condition called fluoridosis which can initially cause teeth to turn mottled and brown eventually cause irreversible skeletal and nerve damage. This condition is a problem in parts of the world which have high exposure to fluoride due eating food grown with fluoride-containing fertilizers, drinking ground water contaminated with excess fluoride, or breathing fumes generated by burning fluoride-containing coal. In those areas where this problem exists UNICEF is working on de-fluoridation programs with local governments. However this has nothing to do with cancer risk and it does NOT mean that governments are eliminating water fluoridation programs in areas that need it (in other words, areas that have low levels of naturally occurring fluoride.)
The bottom line
At the time of this writing, Michelle just posted an additional comment with some references that make a case against fluoride. You can read it here. If you time to jump down the rabbit hole, we suggest you read this reference she provided. We responded with additional references from skeptical websites that basically repeat what we’ve said above. It looks like this controversy rages on and while we appreciates Michelle’s point of view we’re not convinced. Hopefully, if fluoride really is dangerous, something will turn up in the mainstream, peer-reviewed scientific literature. In the meantime we’ll keep brushing with our Colgate with fluoride.
Image credit: http://fc07.deviantart.net/