New studies show that green tea leaves and extracts contain toxic levels of sodium fluoride, leading many health professionals to question the safety of this powerful source of antioxidants. Once celebrated for the ability to fight cancer, improve cardiovascular health, and stimulate natural weight loss, green tea products are now the subject of increased scrutiny and study.
In a 1996 publication of Caries Research, scientists found fluoride concentrations of decaffeinated green and black teas to be as high as 5.20 parts per million, or ppm (i). This finding was significant, as it is well over the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended concentration of no higher than 4 ppm fluoride content for public drinking water (ii).
Fluoride, Green Tea, and Health
It was not until 2005 that fluoride, green tea, and health first became a topic of mainstream discussion in the U.S. That year, the Washington University School of Medicine issued the following warning to consumers regarding the alarmingly high concentration of fluoride in instant tea products:
“Instant tea, one of the most popular drinks in the United States, may be a source of harmful levels of fluoride […] The researchers found that some regular strength preparations contain as much as 6.5 ppm of fluoride,” (iii).
Many Teas, Different Dangers: Why Green Tea is Most Toxic
It is important to note that certain varieties of tealeaves can have significantly higher concentrations of fluoride than others. According to research, the soil, rain, and manufacturing processes employed to cultivate and sell tea products can each affect fluoride concentrations in different ways. For example:
1. Decaffeinated Teas Have More Fluoride: In the Caries Research study discussed above, researchers also noted that decaffeinated teas contained the most fluoride. They speculated that the decaffeinated process was the culprit, because tealeaves are exposed to high volumes of fluoridated water during the decaffeination process.
2. Caffeine Can Increase the Body’s Absorption of Fluoride: Researchers also believe that caffeine can increase the bioavailability of fluoride. In 1990, a research team at the University of Texas even theorized that increasing cases of dental fluorosis—a condition caused by overexposure to fluoride—were primarily due to increased consumption of caffeinated beverages among America’s youth, which ultimately increases the body’s absorption of fluoride.
3. Green Tea Contains the Highest Concentrations of Fluoride: Ironically, the primary characteristic that made green tea a favorite among health enthusiasts is the same trait that makes it most dangerous: Age. As tea leaves age, they become richer in antioxidants and polyphenols, two key characteristics that have been shown to provide far-reaching health benefits. However, tealeaves are exposed to increasingly large quantities of fluoride as they age. Green tealeaves have the highest fluoride content because they take the longest to cultivate and prepare for consumption.
Improve Health by Avoiding Fluoride Exposure
Increasingly, Americans are demanding the freedom to choose whether or not fluoride is a part of their daily life. Most recently, Portland, Oregon voted to end public water fluoridation based on strong opposition to what a majority of the community sees as an unconstitutional, clumsy, and dangerous practice.
To advance awareness for the dangers of fluoride, the Portland community compiled a 450-page study with the help of the National Research Council (NRC), demonstrating that fluoride exposure can cause the following long-term health issues:
- Fluorosis, a condition characterized by an unnatural and permanent discoloration of tooth enamel.
- Elevated risk of bone damage, including fractures.
- Increased risk of developing chronic joint pain.
- A variety of other serious side effects, including brain damage. The Harvard School of Public Health would later assess this alarming side effect, naming it brain drain in a follow-up study.
Holistic Dentistry and Fluoride Awareness
The most common way most Americans encounter fluoride is through fluoridated drinking water. Additionally, many Americans are exposed to fluoride during routine trips to the dental office. Fluoride exposure can be greatly reduced by choosing a holistic dental practice that understands the risks that fluoride poses to oral health and total body wellness.
Holistic dental procedures minimize exposure to chemicals like fluoride, mercury, and other harmful agents in the following ways:
1. Topical fluoride treatments are not used, significantly reducing patient exposure to this toxic and controversial mineral. Non-fluoridated water is also used.
2. Dental amalgam (silver fillings) is never used to perform restorative procedures. Dental amalgam contains upwards of 50% mercury, making it extremely dangerous to both patient and dental professional.
3. Implants and other dental materials are always biocompatible and non-toxic.
To learn more about holistic dentistry, contact Assure A Smile online or call our front desk directly at 305-274-0047.