Fluoridated water consumption linked to skeletal fluorosis, a condition similar to osteoarthritis
Right now, osteoarthritis is the top cause of disability among Americans, with one out of every three adults in the U.S. suffering from the condition in some form. While aging and stress on joints may play a role, exposure to fluoride through drinking water may well be one of the bigger reasons behind the epidemic.
In osteoarthritis, patients experience pain, swelling and tenderness in joints, along with stiffness and a loss of flexibility and mobility. Some people may also experience bone spurs. However, there is another debilitating condition that is very similar to osteoarthritis known as skeletal fluorosis, and its symptoms are so similar that many patients are being misdiagnosed for years.
Skeletal fluorosis can quietly cause osteoarthritis before it is even recognized, making it an insidious disease that is hard to diagnose. Some studies have shown that people experience arthritis in their knees before the spinal bone changes are seen that indicate skeletal fluorosis, which makes it hard to distinguish it from other, more common forms of arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Making matters even more complicated is the fact that it takes on different forms depending on a person’s nutritional and health status, genetics, age and even their exposure to aluminum.
Fluoridated water is causing serious health problems
Studies have linked the incidence of skeletal fluorosis to higher levels of fluoride in drinking water, with one study noting that higher fluoride exposure caused fluorosis occurrence to be “remarkably higher.” People who are heavy tea drinkers and those suffering from kidney impairment have a particularly high risk of skeletal fluorosis.
With more than 70 percent of America’s municipal water supplies being fluoridated, it’s not surprising to see such a high degree of osteoarthritis in the population. However, while the CDC considers water fluoridation one of the 20th century’s top 10 health achievements, data from the World Health Organization shows no discernible difference in tooth decay between places that fluoridate their water and areas that do not do so.
Moreover, the Fluoride Action Network, a group devoted to raising awareness of fluoride toxicity, notes that fluoride’s ability to prevent cavities is achieved through contact with teeth rather than ingestion. If fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwashes are more effective in preventing cavities and tooth decay than water fluoridation, it makes little sense that the practice continues, particularly given all of the health risks.
Fluoridation has also led millions of children in the country to develop dental fluorosis, which is manifested through serious brown staining on the teeth. Fluoridation exposure is also dangerous for patients with advanced forms of kidney disease and those who are undergoing dialysis.
Another strike against fluoridated water is the fact that it has been linked to damage in brain development and reductions in thyroid function.
What can you do about it?
Those who are concerned about their exposure to fluoride should consider installing a high-quality water purification system. However, it is also important to keep in mind that fluoride is found in some pesticides, so sticking to organic produce is another good way to keep your fluoride exposure down. In addition, you should avoid using fluoridated salt in cooking.
Ultimately, fluoridating the country’s water supplies is akin to mass medication without people’s consent. With so many risks and so few rewards, there is no reason anyone needs to drink this type of water. Around 97 percent of the population of Western Europe currently drinks non-fluoridated water and most European countries do not fluoridate their salt, yet the rates of tooth decay on the continent have dropped in the past 50 years just as they have in the United States.
More than 300 North American communities have already stopped fluoridating their water. Unfortunately, there are still millions of Americans who are drinking fluoridated water every day.
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