Fluoride is a form of fluorine, which is the 13th most abundant element on earth. It is naturally found in water, soil, food and some minerals. Fluoride is also made synthetically in laboratories and is commonly added in toothpaste, mouthwashes and drinking water to prevent tooth decay.
Fluoride is also taken orally for treating weakened bones or osteoporosis, particularly in post-menopausal women. However, while fluoride does increase bone density, it has been found to increase bone fracture rates.
Fluoride interferes with bone remodeling, a process that consists of bone resorption, or the breaking down of the mineral portion of bones, and ossification, or the rebuilding of new bone. By interfering in this process, bones become excessively mineralized and enlarged, which is a disruption of the exact architecture needed to maintain resistance to fracture, according to the Fluoride Action Network.
Clinical Trials Show Increased Bone Fractures
Various clinical trials show that bone fracture increase amongst fluoride-treated osteoporotic patients:
Haguenauer et al. tried to determine the efficacy of fluoride therapy on bone loss and non-vertebral and vertebral fractures, as well as its effect on post-menopausal women. They found out that fluoride does not decrease vertebral fractures although it has shown to increase bone density at the lumbar spine.
Sagaard et al. found out that after five years of fluoride treatment of osteoporotic patients, the strength of their iliac crest was reduced by 46-56% as compared to pretreatment. Bone strength, on the other hand, was reduced by 17-30% after one year of treatment.
Another study by Riggs et al. established that fluoride treatment was linked to an increase in non-vertebral fractures, suggesting that bone formed during fluoride therapy is fragile.
Schnitzler et al. observed bone fragility in 37.5% of osteoporotic patients treated for 42.5 years with sodium fluoride, calcium and vitamin D. Twenty-eight per cent of these patients showed stress fractures and spinal fractures. The patients were also shown to have periarticular, femoral neck, pubic rami, tibia and fibula, greater trochanter and subtrochanteric fractures.
Orcel et al. reported 13 cases of spontaneous fracture of the lower limbs in eight patients receiving sodium fluoride treatment. Researchers attributed the fractures to fluoride, which could not be avoided with calcium and/or vitamin D intake. O’duffy et al concluded in their research that the mechanism of fluoride on stress microfracture is unclear, albeit they are clear complications of fluoride therapy.
Build Strong Bones through Diet
One of the best ways to build strong bones is to eat a well-balanced diet. Calcium alone is not enough to build healthy bones. This is because bones are actually composed of many different minerals. Focusing on calcium alone increases your risk of osteoporosis.
Calcium, vitamin D. vitamin K2 and magnesium all work together to build strong, healthy bones. Proper potassium-sodium ratio also plays an important role in maintaining bone mass. You can get all of these nutrients plus vitamin B12 from the following foods:
Calcium: cow’s milk, leafy green vegetables, carrots, the pits of citrus fruits and sesame seeds
Magnesium: Raw organic cacao and Epsom baths/foot baths
Vitamin K2: eggs, butter, and dairy)
Vitamin D: sufficient exposure to the sun; supplements may be taken together with vitamin K2 and magnesium supplements to keep ideal ratios