We all brush our teeth, but how selective are you about the toothpaste you use? Oral hygiene is important, but did you know that there can be ingredients in toothpaste that can harm your health? Contrary to popular belief, fluoride is not as good for you as you thought. Today we want to talk about – is a daily habit working against your thyroid?
What Is Fluoride?
Think back to high school chemistry. Fluorine is a halide on the periodic table, and fluoride is the negative ion of fluorine. Fluoride is actually a toxic byproduct of the aluminum and fertilizer industries. Studies indicate that fluoride is a neurotoxin that decreases the IQ of children. Not only that, but 50% of what you ingest accumulates in your body.
How Fluoride Affects Your Thyroid
- Regular exposure to fluoride and other halides – chlorine and bromine – blocks iodine access in your cells which limits thyroid action.
- Fluoride inhibits the activity of enzymes necessary to produce thyroid hormones.
- It also inhibits the production of TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) by the pituitary, which limits the release of hormones by the thyroid.
- Extended exposure can eventually affect your genes and damage your chromosomes which can lead to a host of adverse health problems.
Low thyroid function is one of the unidentified challenges I find most in my clients. What are the common symptoms? These can include often feeling cold, finding it difficult to lose weight, thinning eyebrows, hair loss, brain fog, dry skin, or low blood pressure.
If you notice several of these symptoms on a regular basis, you might ask your doctor about it. Be prepared for limited testing and the phrase I heard, “You’re fine.” I knew that wasn’t the case and had to search further for answers. A functional medicine practitioner can help you dig deeper.
How to Reduce Fluoride Exposure
Fluoride may be found in tap water, toothpaste, pesticides used in farming (and thus on your food), and dental products. What can you do to prevent exposure?
Make sure that you have a filtration system that removes fluoride from your drinking water.
Check the labels of the cleaning products you use in your home and explore options for non-toxic products.
Have you ever read the warning on the back of your toothpaste? “If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a poison control center right away.” If you are using toothpaste daily for decades in your life, do you think you might have exceeded this amount? I recommend choosing a toothpaste without fluoride – and while you are checking the labels, avoid those with Sodium Lauryl (or Laureth) Sulfate and Triclosan, too.
Your thyroid has an important job in controlling your metabolism. In Functional Medicine circles, we say, “Sluggish thyroid, sluggish everything.” I’m sure that you see the importance of policing the products you are using every day – and the water you are drinking – to ensure that you aren’t hampering its function. You have the power to pursue wellness with each choice you make. Because a daily habit could be working against your thyroid.