The secret to healthy teeth and bones is NOT fluoride

lemon water

Optimal pH is the key to good health. Squeezing fresh lemon into your water can naturally increase its pH level.

A couple of weeks ago, the U.S. admitted there was too much fluoride in water, resulting in an increase in cases of mild dental fluorosis among children. Days later, an editorial in the Washington Post examined the risk of cavities from drinking filtered and bottled water that doesn’t contain fluoride. With all of this confusion, it’s hard to determine the best way to ensure healthy teeth and bones for all. While reading the Washington Post article, I couldn’t help but think it was a little biased. After all, the writer expresses that her concerns over drinking filtered water arrived while she was visiting her dentist who told her about the supposed dangers of not drinking fluoridated water. Well, of course your dentist is going to tell you that fluoride is necessary and good for you.  One writer, in response to this article, suggested that it “comes off as an ADA propaganda piece,” and I would have to agree. But if fluoride is not the solution to cavities, then what is?

Two interesting responses to this article came up in my e-mail feeds last week, and though the fluoride debate has, perhaps, been beaten to death, I thought the implications from both of them seemed worthy of sharing. One of the responses came from Xenophilia, “a science, technology, politics, arts and strange events news blog” serving over 1.5 million readers. Xeno argues that the lack of fluoride is not what causes cavities. Rather, it is the American diet which promotes the intake of sugars and simple carbohydrates. These sugars support the growth of certain species of bacteria that make acid. It is acid that breaks down enamel and leads to cavities and gum disease. The solution is restoring the natural balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in the mouth – a.k.a. probiotics. Probiotics have had gastrointestinal applications for years, but they are now breaking into the oral market with toothpastes, mints and oral care products that contain ProBiora3, a natural ingredient that promotes the balance of good and bad bacteria in the mouth. The takeaway? Harmful bacteria produces lactic acid, which breaks down tooth enamel. The key to good dental health is promoting a non-acidic environment…

Which leads me to the next response to the Washington Post article, released by PR Newswire. Evamor, a bottled alkaline water manufacturer educates consumers on the dental benefits of alkaline water. Alkaline water has a non-acidic pH of 8 or higher. Once again, we see a common theme: cavity-causing bacteria create acidic environments, so exposing your teeth and gums to water that has a basic pH will neutralize the acid in the mouth that causes cavities. While we don’t normally promote bottled water, the piece states: “With a pH level at 8.8, Evamor also aids in combating excess acids introduced by the modern diet loaded with sugars, preservatives and fats.” Alkaline water has been said to promote overall bodily health, in addition to supporting the growth of strong teeth and bones. It is fluoride-free, but who needs fluoride, when you can beat cavities the natural way, and NOT run the risk of fluorosis. A healthy diet, rich in foods that promote a basic pH, combined with the moderate consumption of alkaline water, to keep your overall body pH at a healthy level (between 7.2 and 7.6, is optimal, if I’m not mistaken), is the key to preventing cavities, fluorosis, and many other diseases.

It’s worth trying out, at least…

We are not saying you should go buy a case of Evamor tomorrow. Quite the contrary. There are better solutions than further contributing to the plastic bottle waste on this planet. The first step is to test your water’s pH to find out where you are on the spectrum. Then you may want to consider some natural options for bringing your water’s alkalinity to the optimal level that don’t require you to spend thousands a year on plastic bottled water. Several sources state that adding a small amount of baking soda or fresh lemon to your water can increase its alkalinity. (Make sure you test the pH of the water again, before drinking it, however, to make sure you are adding the right amount.) If you’re going for alkaline water that is fluoride-free, consider filtering it through a reverse osmosis filter, before adding lemon or baking soda. Alternatively, you may choose to invest in a water ionizer system; however these are very expensive. Reverse osmosis filtered water with lemon, combined with a healthy diet, rich in foods that promote alkalinity, seems like the least expensive, and best way to get alkaline water that is fluoride-free.

Chromium III vs. Chromium VI in Water: What You Need to Know

Child Drinking WaterRecent reports have indicated the presence of chromium vi, also known as hexavalent chromium, in the municipal water supplies of 31 cities across the U.S. This toxic compound is an industrial pollutant and is known to be carcinogenic. Currently, the most effective way to remove chromium-6 from water is reverse osmosis filtration.

However, yearly water quality reports fail to distinguish between chromium vi and chromium iii. While the former is toxic and cancer-causing, the latter is an essential nutrient that is biologically active and found in everyday foods. Chromium-3 or trivalent chromium, is known to enhance the action of insulin, a hormone needed to metabolize and store carbohydrate, fat and protein in the body. Researchers have investigated the effect of chromium-3 supplements on preventing the onset of type-2 diabetes, and though these studies are inconclusive, there is no doubt that trivalent chromium is an essential and healthy compound. Failing to distinguish between hexavalent chromium and trivalent chromium is, as one report notes, like “lump[ing] a known carcinogen in with a vitamin.”

The moral of the story? Make sure you test your water for hexavalent chromium, specifically. Since chromium iii is found in so many foods, removing it from your water, along with chromium vi, is likely inconsequential. Most water filters that remove hexavalent chromium are likely to remove trivalent chromium as well, and it’s worth removing both in order to reduce your exposure to chromium-6. But simply buying a water filter that claims to remove “chromium,” but does not specify which type, may end up doing you no good, if your goal is to reduce the toxic variety.

The good news is, since the discovery of chromium-6 in water supplies across the U.S., health officials have recognized the importance of specifying these details on yearly water reports and will likely do so, in order to ensure a higher level of reliability in the future.