Important Facts You Need to Know About Water Fluoridation

By Joseph Mercola
Joseph Mercola
Joseph Mercola
Dr. Joseph Mercola is the founder of An osteopathic physician, best-selling author, and recipient of multiple awards in the field of natural health, his primary vision is to change the modern health paradigm by providing people with a valuable resource to help them take control of their health.
February 27, 2015 Updated: February 27, 2015

With few exceptions, most other countries do not fluoridate their drinking water, and for good reason—fluoride is a toxic drug linked with an array of potentially serious health problems.

Yet despite irrefutable evidence of harm, the United States still adds fluoride to municipal water supplies reaching nearly 211 million Americans, including infants, the elderly, and those with chronic health problems. 

As of 2012, more than 67 percent of Americans receive fluoridated water, up from 66 percent in 2010. Of those, more than 11 million people receive fluoride at or above what has been deemed the “optimal” level, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The video above features a recent interview I had with Dr. Paul Connett, director of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN), about the health risks of water fluoridation you may have not been aware of.

He also addresses the nature of the propaganda that keeps this foolish practice going, even though it flies in the face of scientific evidence, which shows there are significant health risks, especially for children, while providing no demonstrable benefit.

Why Water Fluoridation Is Utterly Unnecessary 

Thanks to a brilliant “marketing campaign” back in the 1940s, the American Dental Association (ADA) has been, and remains, a staunch defender of water fluoridation. 

This despite mounting scientific evidence showing that a) ingesting fluoride does not benefit your teeth, and b) even topical application may be largely ineffective. 

One groundbreaking study published in the journal Langmuir four years ago revealed that the fluorapatite layer formed on your teeth from fluoride is a mere six nanometers thick. To understand just how thin this is, you’d need 10,000 of these layers to get the width of a strand of your hair. 

Scientists now question whether this ultra-thin layer can actually protect your enamel and provide any discernible benefit, considering the fact that it is quickly eliminated by simple chewing. They wrote: “it has to be asked whether such narrow… layers really can act as protective layers for the enamel.”

More than 67 percent of Americans receive fluoridated water

It should be acknowledged that the anti-fluoridation community is divided about the quality of evidence for fluoride’s beneficial topical effects. However, they are unanimous in rejecting any benefit from swallowing fluoride to fight tooth decay plus dozens more that directly link fluoride exposure to reduced IQ in children.

Meanwhile, there are more than 100 published studies illustrating fluoride’s harm to the brain, plus dozens more that directly link fluoride exposure to reduced IQ in children.

In other words, it doesn’t do much (if any) good to swallow fluoride and doing so could be doing significant harm—not just on an individual basis, but also on a societal level. 

Fluoride may have sweeping adverse effects on intellectual capacity of the American population on the whole, while also disproportionally affecting already disadvantaged communities. In case you’re still unconvinced that water fluoridation is a bad idea, perhaps the following 10 facts about fluoridation will help you reconsider.

1. Most developed countries do not fluoridate their water. More people drink fluoridated water in the US alone than in the rest of the world combined. In Western Europe, for instance, 97 percent of the population drinks non-fluoridated water.

2. Fluoridated countries do not have less tooth decay than non-fluoridated countries. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no discernible difference in tooth decay between developed countries that fluoridate their water and those that do not. 

The decline in tooth decay the US has experienced over the last 60 years, which is often attributed to fluoridated water, has likewise occurred in all developed countries—most of which do not fluoridate their water.

With few exceptions, most other countries do not fluoridate their drinking water due to health concerns

3. Fluoride affects many tissues in your body besides your teeth. Many assume that the fluoride in drinking water (or in any other fluoride supplement) will somehow only affect your teeth. 

But according to a 500-page scientific review, fluoride is an endocrine disruptor that can affect your bones, brain, thyroid gland, pineal gland and even your blood sugar levels. At present, 42 human studies have linked moderately high fluoride exposures with reduced intelligence, and over 100 animal studies have shown that fluoride exposure can cause brain damage. 

Most striking among these are 30 (out of a total of 32 investigations) that have shown that fluoride lowered the ability of animals to learn and remember. Studies have also demonstrated that fluoride toxicity, caused by overexposure, can lead to a wide variety of health problems, including: 

Increased lead absorptionDisrupts synthesis of collagen Hyperactivity and/or lethargy Muscle disorders Thyroid diseaseArthritis Brain damage, lowered IQ, and dementia Skeletal fluorosis and bone fracturesLowered thyroid function Bone cancer(osteosarcoma) Inactivates 62 enzymes and inhibits more than 100 Inhibited formation of antibodies Genetic damage and cell death Increased tumor and cancer rate Disrupted immune system Damaged sperm and increased infertility 

4. Fluoridation is not a “natural” process. While fluoride is naturally occurring in some areas, leading to “naturally” high levels in certain water supplies, this does not make such water safe to drink! 

In fact, certain communities with naturally high levels of fluoride in their drinking water are known to have higher rates of health problems associated with fluoride overexposure, such as bone deformities.

Arsenic and heavy metals also occur naturally in the environment, but are still considered water contaminants that must be filtered out in order to ensure safe drinking water. Fluoridation advocates often use the “naturally-occurring fluoride” argument as support for its safety, but clearly such an argument falls flat if you just stop and think about it for a moment.

Moreover, the fluoride added to most water supplies is not the naturally occurring variety but rather fluorosilicic acid—a toxic waste chemical captured in air pollution control devices of the phosphate fertilizer industry. This captured fluoride acid is typically highly contaminated, which may impose additional risks to those already presented by natural fluorides. Elevated arsenic levels, for example, present an increased cancer risk. The fluoride acid may also, under some conditions, increase erosion of lead from old pipes, which presents an added neurotoxic hazard.

A better view of nature’s take on fluoride is the level of fluoride delivered in mothers’ milk. This is remarkably low (averaging 0.004 ppm, NRC, 200, p.40). There is every reason to believe that nature is protecting the baby from the biologically active fluoride ion. Water fluoridation subverts that protection. A bottle fed baby in a fluoridated community is getting about 200 times more fluoride than nature intended.

5. More than 40 percent of American teens show visible signs of fluoride overexposure. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 41 percent of American children between the ages of 12 and 14 have dental fluorosis. Outwardly visual signs of this condition include pitting and discoloration of your teeth, caused by long-term ingestion of fluoride during early tooth formation. In some areas, fluorosis rates are as high as 70-80 percent, with some children suffering from advanced forms. 

Dental fluorosis is not “just cosmetic.” It can also be an indication that the rest of your body, such as your bones and internal organs, including your brain, have been overexposed to fluoride as well—you just cannot see the damage in the same way you can see the effects on your teeth. So there’s a high likelihood that if fluoride is having a visually detrimental effect on the surface of your teeth, it’s also damaging other parts of your body, such as your bones… 


6. For infants, fluoridated water provides no benefits, only risks. Infants who consume formula made with fluoridated tap water may consume up to 1,200 micrograms of fluoride, or about 100 times more than the recommended amounts. Such excessive fluoride exposure during infancy provides no known advantage to teeth. On the contrary, evidence suggests it could cause significant harm.

Babies given fluoridated water in their formula are not only more likely to develop dental fluorosis, but may also have reduced IQ scores. In fact, a 2012 Harvard University meta-analysis funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) concluded that children who live in areas with highly fluoridated water have “significantly lower” IQ scores than those who live in low fluoride areas. A number of prominent dental researchers now advise that parents should avoid using fluoridated water to reconstitute baby formula.

7. Fluoride supplements have never been approved by the FDA. The fluoride supplements sometimes prescribed to those who are not drinking fluoridated water have not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prevention of tooth decay. In fact, the fluoride supplements that the FDA has reviewed have been rejected. So when fluoridating our water for the expressed purpose of benefiting dental health, the water authorities are adding a prescription-strength dose of a drug that has never been approved by the FDA for such a purpose. 

8. Fluoride is the only drug added to public water supplies. Fluoride is added to drinking water to prevent a disease (tooth decay), and as such becomes a drug by FDA definition. While proponents claim this is no different than adding vitamin D to milk, fluoride is not an essential nutrient. Water fluoridation is a form of mass medication that denies you the right to informed consent.

9. Swallowing fluoride provides little benefit to teeth. It is now widely recognized that fluoride’s only justifiable benefit comes from topical contact with teeth. Even the CDC has acknowledged this fact, and even here scientists have raised questions about its efficacy, as discussed earlier. What is clear though is that ingesting fluoride offers little, if any, benefit to your teeth.

10. Already disadvantaged communities are disproportionally harmed by water fluoridation. Fluoride toxicity is exacerbated by conditions that occur much more frequently in low-income areas. This includes nutrient deficiencies, infant formula consumption, kidney disease, and diabetes. African American and Mexican American children have significantly higher rates of dental fluorosis, and many low-income urban communities also have severe oral health crises, despite decades of water fluoridation. The very last children in the US that need their IQ lowered are children from disadvantaged families (the main target for fluoridation) as in this respect they already have too many strikes against them