Can Fluoride in Water Really Affect Your Hair Health?

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Fluoride in Water

The danger of added fluoride in water has been debated for a long time. Most countries in Europe and the rest of the world do not add fluoride to drinking water. India, China and some parts in Africa, have naturally high fluoride levels in their water. However, these countries are now discarding it due to health risks. The U.S. on the other hand adds fluoride to its tap water, and opinions about this differ. Is fluoride really dangerous, and how does it contribute to hair loss?

Arguments For Not Having Fluoride in Water

The Durango Herald recently published a letter by Doctor Dennis O’Brien. O’Brien’s letter stated a significant difference in patients exposed to fluoridated water compared to those who had not.
For 23 years, O’Brien lived between Vancouver, Washington, that adds fluoride to its water, and Portland, Oregon, that does not. About half of his patients came from each side of the river. According to O’Brien, the majority of the patients that experienced problems with their thyroid lived in Vancouver.

This observation, in accordance with several studies on the subject matter, proves a connection between consumption of fluoride and different thyroid diseases. But there are many more health issues to consider. A 2014 study published in the Scientific World Journal showed that fluoride in children could affect their cognitive development negatively and actually alter their IQ. Further, the only proven effect fluoride has on teeth is in contributing to the prevention of caries. But this only happens when applied topically to the teeth, not when you consume fluoride in water. In fact, research shows that too much fluoride could cause dental fluorosis, a very common disorder where white patches appear on the teeth. But if you have severe fluorosis, your teeth will go brown and get corroded. In cases where people have a very high intake of fluoride, this disorder can spread to the skeleton.

Fluoride Awareness

The Fluoride Action Network is a group that seeks to broaden awareness about the effects of fluoride. According to the group, it is unethical to add fluoride to tap water since it is classed as a drug by the FDA. But residents in a community have no choice whether they want it or not. There is also no way to control how much a person receives, as some people drink more water than others. And for mothers who do not breastfeed, the fluoride will end up in the baby’s bottle. As mother’s milk contains very low levels of fluoride naturally, this poses a significant risk for a baby.

In fact, in 2010 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Dental Association (ADA) issued recommendations for parents to infants younger than a year to avoid fluoride because of all the issues above.

Fluoride in Water
Adding fluoride in water is a debated issue. Although it is good for the teeth, too much can be harmful and have a negative impact on our health.

Links Between Thyroid Disease and Hair Loss

Nutrafol has previously written about the proven link between thyroid disease and hair loss. According to a 2014 study by British scientists, higher levels of fluoride in water do contribute to a higher prevalence of hypothyroidism. This is a common disorder where your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. The symptoms of the disorder include depression, fatigue, dry skin, constipation, weight gain or weight loss or even hair loss.



Hair loss due to hypothyroidism is diffuse and affects the whole scalp. This means that you will notice your hair getting thinner all over. Low thyroid levels affect your metabolism, which is the cause of the common symptom of weight gain. But what many do not know is that this also affects your hair follicles. The follicles react by releasing the roots of the hairs to early and delay the growth of new hair. Because of the different stages in the hair growth cycle, you will only notice the hair loss a couple of months after your thyroid problems start. Normally it will get better as you treat the disease, but it can take a while. If you want to gain your hair back faster, a hair supplement is one way to complement the process.

Stay Healthy

No matter if you live in a state or country adding fluoride to drinking water or not, there are things you can do to stay healthy and maintain healthy hair. The most important thing is to live a balanced life. Get enough sleep, eat a varied, healthy diet with many fresh vegetables and grains, get plenty of exercise and fresh air, practice mindfulness and drink a lot of water. Other measures for reducing fluoride is to use a water filtering system. These filters not only remove fluoride in your drinking water, but also copper, mercury and cadmium.


Jake Guild via Flickr

Arek Olek via Flickr

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