Natural sources of flouride (flourine)Hello everyone,
I am browsing thru this thread because I am suddenly overtaken with guilt about my lack of care for my 11mo dd's teeth... I brush a little bit but mostly she just chews on the brush. It's hard with her to get her to sit still to do any sort of personal care stuff, but now that she is also eating lots of solids along with bf, I should be way more careful!
Smilemomma, you and some others were wondering about natural sources for flouride. The reader who mentioned calc flour (the homeopathic tissue salt) was right on. Also, the tissue salt calc phos, (calcium phosphate) is also very good for supporting bone and teeth fortification and proper formation, alignment, etc. It's a great thing to take during teething.
The absolute best source of natural flourine that I've read about (I am a natural health store buyer so I read a lot about these subjects) is green tea! Even with a small baby, you can give them some decaffeinated, weak green tea in a sippy cup. (The japanese sencha tends to have less caffeine and a milder taste, than the Chinese or gunpowder variety). I think that some other herbal beverages contain flourine as well. Interestingly, green tea is also very antibacterial, helps with mouth odor (not that that's an issue in most babies though!), and is just overall very healthy. One of the best natural toothpastes (that periodontists often even prescribe their patients who shop at our store) uses green tea as a main ingredient.
Black tea has flourine too but it has tannins that are not good for the teeth, causing stains etc, and it's much higher in caffeine. I imagine white tea also would be good, as it has many properties of green but a much lighter and more fruity/floral taste, and less caffeine even than green. And more antioxidants!
Also regarding the use of Vitamin C, Smilemomma said that "vitamin c is ascorbic acid". Not all vitamin C is in that form, and not all forms of C are so corrosive to tooth enamel. Calcium ascorbate (ester-c) and ascorbyl palmitate (c-ester... yes, they are different) are much gentler on the teeth as well as tummy, and are absorbed much better, although the first one is much better for kids. That is the "buffered" form of c, and a lot of research shows that mineral ascorbates are highly absorbable and beneficial. You can get kid's "Emergen-C" packets (flavored naturally with strawberry powder and containing other vitamins in good forms, it makes a fizzy drink!) in most health food stores.
Also thyme essential oil is one of the most antibacterial. It is strong though and should be highly dilute. Interestingly, even good old lavender is antibacterial. Oregano oil works too but is too strong for kids under 3, in general.
I choose not to use flouride on my dd simply because I had such bad experiences as a child getting flouridated half to death by overzealous dentists... pills, varnishes, rinses, water, toothpaste...! Fortunately I'm still alive and not dead of a flouride-induced coma but I can definitely see the havoc it's wreaked on my teeth, which are pitted with ugly white and yellow spots. I have only had one cavity in my life, and it was under a loose brace bracket, but I probably inherited my dad's teeth... he never goes to dentists, grew up in post-WW2 germany where no one had any flouride anything, and his teeth are totally perfect and cavity free. Also my dh is from Africa and genetically, they seem to be prone to excellent teeth over there... he never had any cavities and didn't even use toothpaste or toothbrushes as a kid, they just chewed on special twigs and rinsed their mouth with water! When I was over there I saw the most beautiful and healthy teeth in the world. I am not sure why that is, but I am sure that it's not due to flouride, because they don't use any. I saw this over widespread areas. Generally when their teeth got bad it was due to illness or malnutrition. So overall I am not as worried about my dd's teeth as I could be, since she seems to have good genetics in that regard, although nothing is certain.
There are a lot of interesting things to consider as well about the whole dental thing. Has anyone here read Weston Price's research about dental health in third world countries and among poor Europeans? It's fascinating and spans over several generations. Most indigenous people had excellent teeth alignment and strength, and few cavities, until they started eating processed foods like refined sugars and grains, canned foods, etc. For example, the best teeth of all that he observed were in a small Swiss region where the kids drank fresh spring water and ate mostly whole grain, fermented breads and fresh cheese and butter. The second generation ate a lot of imported, processed foods. Their teeth started decaying!
Regarding flouride in general, I agree with smilemomma's ideas overall and think her point of view is a responsible and conservative one. I don't think flouride is the only nutrient (actually, it's not technically a major bodily nutrient, despite how it's presented) that is important in tooth and bone (after all tooth is just an extension of bone) health, and it's so hard to get "safe" flouride. If you read the warnings on most toothpastes, they say "if more than amount needed for brushing is swallowed, contact poison control center immediately!" Do I want to brush my child's teeth with poison? No, but I can understand, if she really were getting tons of cavities, I would consider it... I just see it as an option and possibly a more unsafe one than some others out there. Also I agree that flouride can have safe and unsafe forms. The form currently used is not very compatible with the human body, and is more toxic than perhaps one that's naturally occuring in food.
There are some foods that contain flourine but I don't remember them! Will keep you posted if I find out. In general it's present, I think, mostly in green type things, I remembered some green vegetables were rich in it.