Located at the base of the neck, the small but vital thyroid gland regulates metabolism, breathing, heart rate, digestion, and body temperature, among many other functions.
The thyroid is also one of the most fluoride-sensitive parts of the body. Fluoride’s abilities to remineralize lesions and prevent tooth decay are well known. Yet its similar chemical structure to iodine, central to hormonal production, has raised questions about its impact on thyroid health.
If you have a family history of thyroid issues or are already suffering from Hashimoto’s disease or hypothyroidism, you may want to switch your fluoride-containing toothpaste to nano-hydroxyapatite toothpaste, a powerful remineralization agent with protective and whitening properties. In fact, nano-hydroxyapatite (nHA) is the only scientifically proven fluoride alternative. Most fluoride-free toothpastes on the market simply lack cavity preventing, remineralizing properties.
Below we look at the interplay between thyroid function and fluoride. Then we’ll explore why nano-hydroxyapatite toothpaste is the best fluoride replacement and an all-around gift to your teeth.
The link between fluoride and thyroid problems
Thyroid function depends on iodine, a natural mineral found in soil and water. The thyroid relies on iodine intake to produce metabolism-regulating hormones such as triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), which in turn travel through the body and contribute to brain, heart, and other organ function. Proper thyroid function depends on having optimal levels of T3, T4, and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).
Fluoride is the 13th most abundant element, and we encounter it everywhere. It’s in tap water, mouthwashes and toothpastes, food and even in some medications. Like iodine, fluoride is a halogen on the periodic table, sharing a column with chlorine, bromine, and astatine. These elements are similar enough in structure that the body will absorb them in place of iodine.
The absence or reduction of iodine will impair the thyroid’s capacity to produce hormones critical to metabolism and other important system-wide functions. The more you absorb chemicals like fluoride instead of iodine, the higher your likelihood of disrupted thyroid function. Having too much or too little iodine or impairments to thyroid intake are all part of the process that triggers autoimmunity. To compound this problem, if the body is displacing iodine with fluoride, it won’t excrete it through sweat or urine, intensifying its negative effect on the thyroid.
Is fluoride bad for you?
Fluoride was used pharmacologically prior to the invention of thyroid medication. In the 1950s, doctors used it to lower the basal metabolism of patients with hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroids). In that context, an effective dose was approximately 2-5 mg.
According to this population-level analysis, this also happens to be within the range commonly consumed by people living in fluoridated areas. The analysis also showed that populations within wholly fluoridated regions were twice as likely to have hypothyroidism (under-active thyroids) than non-fluoridated regions.
Beyond first-hand exposure, fluoride might have transgenerational effects. Another study examined the effects of fluoride on the brain and thyroid in three generations of rats. The researchers compared rats consuming fluoride-treated water over three generations and a control group that did not.They found significant losses in free triiodothyronine (FT3) and free thyroxine (FT4) serum levels, important markers of thyroid function. This effect was most significant in third-generation rats. The fluoride-exposed rats also had degenerating neurons and worsened working memories and learning abilities.
Although there are many variables that affect your thyroid health, the thyroid affects essentially all organ systems in the body. Also, impaired thyroid function can make themselves known through unusual symptoms, like a hoarse voice or fertility issues. Since it’s difficult to know how much fluoride you're ingesting from drinking or bathing water (and/or other sources), it can be a useful variable to consider, especially if you have many odd yet seemingly unrelated symptoms.
How to limit your exposure to fluoride in water
The first step in limiting your fluoride intake is to filter your water. Since most tap or shower filters don’t remove fluoride, over time, fluoride and other chemicals can deposit into fats and organs and exacerbate thyroid issues. You’ll need a reverse osmosis filtration system or an activated alumina defluoridation filter. These filters will further reduce the presence of another thyroid-disrupting halogen, chlorine, from your drinking and bathing water.
How nano-hydroxyapatite toothpaste works
You might also replace conventional toothpaste with fluoride-free; namely, nano-hydroxyapatite toothpaste.
Nano-hydroxyapatite (nHA or n-Hap) is a biocompatible material that naturally occurs within the bone, teeth, and saliva. In fact, 97% of enamel and 70% of dentin, the layer below enamel, are composed of hydroxyapatite, (a calcium phosphorus compound), making it biocompatible. Intriguingly, NASA developed nHA particles for astronaut use as their gravity-free missions reduced their bone density and tooth enamel.
While fluoride by itself cannot remineralize teeth without saliva, nHA can bond directly to tooth enamel, which makes nHA even more ideal for people with thyroid issues who often also suffer with dry mouth (Xerostomia). It remineralizes enamel by replacing minerals that are otherwise lost in the acidic environment that promotes tooth decay.
The remineralizing effects of nHA also give it a damage repair function. It’s able to address micro-cracks and fissures (scratches) in tooth surfaces. These cracks and fissures ordinarily can host pathogenic bacteria, so the remineralization and acid-resistant properties of nHA make it a powerful way of intervening on the cavity-formation process. Since nHA can make teeth more resistant to plaque build-up, it can even make teeth look whitened, more opaque, and glossier.
With all that said, fluoride in your oral care products is a relatively small portion of your overall fluoride intake. However, if you already have impaired thyroid function, switching to fluoride-free nHA oral care products can further reduce your exposure to fluoride.
While conventional toothpastes largely polish teeth, nHA acts as a multi-purpose, restorative ingredient to address the many oral health issues that come with thyroid problems.
Once thyroid problems occur, it is often challenging to reduce the damage and may even result in the need for life-long care. If you think of the body as an integrated system, where even small exposures and events can lead to larger, system-wide impacts, protecting your thyroid with nano-hydroxyapatite-containing toothpaste is a simple step that can have far-reaching positive impacts.