Thanks for your time and dedication to this topic.
Fluoride....is it really needed?
This one is no toughy for me. There is a LOT of research out there showing fluoride has slight potential harms, with very little upside. Whole cities and whole nations have decided against polluting their water supplies with it. They can't all be that clueless. How about this Harvard-supervised review of all the many studies on neurological effects: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3491930/ It states this: "Thus, children in high-fluoride areas had significantly lower IQ scores than those who lived in low-fluoride areas." Does anyone really need any more suggestion than that, for something so unnecessary?
Yes, a portion of studies show slight reduction in cavities in a certain narrow age range, but, for one, if one really wants that effect, all they have to do is use any mainstream toothpaste out there. There's certainly no need to swallow the stuff. I definitely would not recommend fluoride supplements. How about some healthy multivitamin/mineral supplements instead? That'd be a plus for all bone health (if one is not a good vegetable eater). Teeth need plenty of magnesium, and vitamins A, D, and K, for starters.
While fluoride can unnaturally make teeth a bit harder, and slightly reduce decay in some children, within a narrow dosage range, beyond which it actually increases decay, it also makes all the bones in one's body harder, by replacing the magnesium that's supposed to be in them, with fluoride. These "harder" bones look more dense on X-rays, but they actually break more easily, for they are now brittle --- they've lost their flexibility, known as "tensile strength." NOT desirable.
On top of it all, there are SO many totally HEALTHY things that can help prevent decay. Berries and carrots are quite anti-cavity, for one. Finish a meal with one of these and they'll clean the teeth and help protect you until your next snack or brushing. Xylitol gum is great. Toothpastes can be supplemented with olive leaf oil or tea tree oil instead of fluoride -- two great cavity-fighters -- and, finally, take good probiotics and eat fermented foods and live yogurts. All of these things support many facets of health as well as prevent tooth decay.