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Brushing Up: Smile! You’re About To Change Toothpastes

By Brian Wimer

If you are one of the majority of Americans that dutifully brushes with Colgate Total® on your dentist’s recommendations, you may be doing yourself more harm than good. What is first in the eyes of the dental dictocrats may be the last thing you want in your mouth.

American Dental Association (ADA)-approved Colgate Total® claims to be the only toothpaste “clinically proven” to “protect both above and below the gum line.” It has a patented formula for “12–hour” protection against cavities, gingivitis and plaque, due to the active ingredients: fluoride and triclosan (paired with gantrez, an adhesive copolymer).

Let’s start with fluoride. Now, listen closely: fluoride might cause cavities. Sounds like heresy, doesn’t it?

But this has been known since 1942, when Proctor & Gamble’s own initial clinical studies found a 23% increase in dental caries among children who used their fluoride toothpaste Teel. The reason: for fluoride to bond to teeth, it must remove calcium—that’s called fluorosis.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which currently runs de-fluoridation programs for the World Health Organization, says: “Agreement is universal that excessive fluoride intake leads to loss of calcium from the tooth matrix, aggravating cavity formation throughout life rather than remedying it.”

Sorry, water fluoridation is quite likely a bust. And that’s not news.

In 1999, the New York State Department of Health completed an unprecedented 45-year study comparing children in Newburgh, New York, which had fluoridated water for 45 years, with Kingston, New York, which never had fluoridated water. Conclusion: there was no significant difference in the amount of cavities between the two cities, but statistically there was more dental fluorosis in fluoridated Newburgh.

This critical study effectively nullified the prior findings of the benchmark 10-year 1955 survey comparing these same towns. The 1955 study allegedly found 70% fewer caries in fluoridated Newburgh and stood as the ADA’s primary clinical “evidence” for the nationwide fluoridation policies that followed.

Again, the 1999 findings were no revelation. In 1988, the National Institute of Dental Research and the United States Public Health Service completed a massive $3.6 million nationwide survey to assess fluoridation efficacy. The data (unveiled by a Freedom of Information Act filing) revealed no difference in tooth decay between fluoridated and nonfluoridated communities. Similar findings had been made by public health officials in New Zealand and Canada.

Water fluoridation promotion boils down to bad research. A 2000 review of 214 water fluoridation safety and efficacy studies (which censured both fluoridation proponents and critics) found little more than a wealth of poor science. Among researchers’ conclusions, “The most serious defect of the studies of possible beneficial effects of water fluoridation was the lack of appropriate design and analysis.”

A similar summation of fluoridation efficacy studies is spelled out in a statistical overview undertaken by the University of California, Davis Department of Mathematics. “The announced opinions and published papers favoring mechanical fluoridation of public drinking water are especially rich in fallacies, improper design, invalid use of statistical methods, omissions of contrary data, and just plain muddleheadedness and hebetude.”

There’s more. Fluoride may even cause gingivitis. According to a 1998 US patent (#5,807,541) by the pharmaceutical company Sepracor, fluoride activates the very oral “G proteins” that lead to chronic gingivitis, periodontal disease and ultimately tooth loss.Besides, fluoride is poison. EPA scientists rate fluoride as “more toxic than lead, and not quite as toxic as arsenic.” That’s why all fluoride toothpaste tubes warn: “If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional assistance or contact a Poison Control Center immediately.”

Fluoride (despite ADA claims) is also a carcinogen. Studies by the National Cancer Institute’s former Chief Chemist Emeritus, Dr. Dean Burke, show that fluoridation is responsible for 10,000 cancer deaths yearly. “In point of fact, fluoride causes more human cancer deaths, and causes it faster, than any other chemical,” says Burke.Research from St Louis University, Japan’s Nippon Dental College, and the University of Texas show that fluoride stimulates tumor growth rate. The New Jersey Department of Health found the risk of osteosarcoma among males under 20 was up to seven times higher in fluoridated areas.

A 1995 peer-reviewed study by Harvard neurotoxicist Dr. Phyllis Mullinex concludes that fluoride also causes brain damage. Her findings were corroborated by more recent clinical surveys in China. Also, in 1999, 1,500 EPA scientists, lawyers and engineers signed a joint resolution to oppose fluoridation because they found that fluoride causes “gene mutations, cancer, reproductive effects, neurotoxicity, bone pathology, and…decreases (of ) about 5 to 10 I.Q. points in children aged 8 to 13 years.” Robert Carton, Ph.D, a former president of the EPA professionals union who spent 15 years as a US EPA toxicologist, says, “Fluoridation is the greatest case of scientific fraud of this century, if not of all time.”

Now, let’s talk about triclosan. It’s a pesticide, technically a chlorinated aromatic, similar in molecular structure to the most toxic forms of dioxins and PCBs. It’s also the antibiotic disinfectant used in kitchen sponges and hospital soap.

Microbiologists at the Tufts University School of Medicine believe overuse of triclosan promotes the creation of antibiotic- resistant “superbugs.”Worse still, findings presented to the American Society for Microbiology over the past several years suggest that triclosan actually helps resistant bacteria thrive, forming resilient biofilms on teeth and water pipes. Moreover, triclosan is a nonspecific biocide. It kills all microbes, the good and the bad—even those flora necessary for digestion. The copolymers used in Colgate Total® keep triclosan active for 12 hours after you brush.

Lastly, triclosan may even contain true dioxins. A report from Quantex Laboratories, in Edison, New Jersey, states, “Polychlorodibenzo-p-dioxins (dioxins) and polychlorodibenzofurans (dibenzofurans) can be found in varying low level amounts, as synthesis impurities in triclosan.” Similar findings were made in 2003 by researchers at the University of Minnesota.

Triclosan is also used in Crest®, Mentadent®, Sensodyne® and Macleans® toothpastes, all of which also contain fluoride. And let’s mention sodium and potassium hydroxides (also known as lye), the whitening ingredient in many conventional toothpastes. Lye is considered a poison by the Food and Drug Administration.