Did This Woman Really Loose Her Teeth Because of Drinking Tea, or Was This Reported Inaccurately?

The article below caught my eye because I had never heard of tea causing these problems. Since tea is such a common beverage, I decided to read further, to learn how this happened.

Intrigued and surprised, once I pulled up the article, and saw that the headline could not possibly be any more misleading. The subtitle was , Extreme levels of fluoride from daily consumption of a concentrated brew caused pain, brittle teeth”

In the body of the article, we find that this information was taken from the New England Journal of Medicine, with no links to the source. After a search, I found ,what I am assuming to be the source and have provided below. This article in the NEJM is titled “Skeletal Fluorosis Due to Excessive Tea Drinking”.


The same story was reported in numerous outlets in the main stream media.

Huffington Post

Daily Mail


International Business Times, IBT


The Guardian


As you can see, the woman lost her teeth, and had serious bone problems from high levels of fluoride, yet the articles are written to give the reader the impression that her problems were due to excessive tea consumption, and even label her with an addiction. The Huffington Post even provides a picture of a tea cup. While there are problem with drinking too much tea, or any other substance, this woman’s problem was the excessive Fluoride in the water she was using for her tea.

In Successful Scientific Writing and Publishing: A Step-by-Step Approach the CDC states:

The purpose of a title is twofold: to provide an accurate and informative summary and to attract the target audience. Both prospective readers and database search engines use the title to screen articles for relevance (2). All titles should clearly state the topic being studied. The topic includes the who, what, when, and where of the study. Along with the topic, select 1 or 2 of the following items to include within the title: methods, results, conclusions, or named data set or study.

These titles do not “… provide an accurate and informative summary…” , as the CDC states they should, when writing about science. These articles all point to the tea and the woman’s “addiction” , but the cause of her problems was the fluoride in her water. These media outlets have even labeled her as an addict which comes with all kinds of social stigma. Yet, “The patient reported that for the past 17 years, she has habitually consumed a pitcher of tea made from 100 to 150 tea bags daily (estimated fluoride intake, >20 mg per day)” as reported in the source, the New England Journal of Medicine. She drank one pitcher of very, very strong tea daily.

The New England Journal of Medicine article further states: “Brewed tea has one of the highest fluoride contents among beverages in the United States.” This would have been a better title for the article, along with “…causes woman to have serious dental and skeletal problems”, as this would, “… provide an accurate and informative summary…” the very recommendation of the CDC.

After looking through the NEJM article, and the different writings about this, I want to know why all these authors are emphasizing the tea and not the fluoride, the real offender in this case. Of course, there is dosing, but we have to consider that our water is fluorinated ,in many parts of the country. Fluoride is administered to children, at the dentist’s office, and an ingredient in most toothpastes.

The only reason we know she had excessive amounts of Fluoride is because she had serious issues, AND presented to a medical facility. To their credit, they were sharp enough to diagnose the problem correctly. To my knowledge checking Fluoride levels is not the norm. Maybe they should be.

I also want to point out that we are told over and over again, that “correlation does not equal causation”, but these writers, made a correlation based on causation. NEJM reported correctly the problem was the Fluoride as she was tested, but the other writers picked it up as a blasé too much tea, bad, nothing to see here. They are not kidding when they say the devil is in the details.

Sadly, we know that most will not read past the headline, or even the first paragraph or two. That is in part because of time. Had I not read the entire article, and the source, I would have come away thinking tea can be dangerous and this woman was an “addict”. Instead I did read the articles and now I have some serious questions.

Why is such highly fluoridated tea on the shelves in the first place? Shouldn’t the Food and Drug Administration, the FDA be correcting this in any way? Why aren’t they concerned about the levels of Fluoride in general?

Shouldn’t the media be correctly identifying the problem and pressuring the “experts” to correct THEIR bad behaviors? The patient was labeled an addict and was “counseled”. I imagine she received stern lectures about her “bad” behavior “. Is this reporting fair the this woman. Did anyone, even consider her before writing their articles?

The truth is we have systemic problems here, and this is just one example. We have a press that apparently, chose to give the reader the impression that too much tea is the problem, and this woman was an addict. Granted, readers have the responsibility to verify their sources, and I cannot stress this enough. This is one part of the equation, the sources. The other problem is that we do not have an objective media.

The substance of the NEJM article, tells me that Fluoride levels were a problem for this woman. As most do not get tested for Fluoride in the first place, how do we know this is not a more serious widespread problem? There is a relationship between Fluoride and Calcium, shouldn’t we be checking these fluoride levels for safe levels ? Shouldn’t these be questions the experts should be asking?

In 2014, Newsweek Reported that Israel Has Officially Banned Fluoridation of Its Drinking Water. The health minister, German, stated the following:

Health Minister Yael German announced last year that she planned to end the practice, but faced a wave of backlash. Undeterred, she said earlier this month that she had nevertheless decided to end the process effective Aug. 26, and to not even allow optional fluoridation in communities that support it.

German “acknowledged that the naturally occurring element is beneficial in preventing dental decay,” the Times of Israel reported, “but strongly defended her position in a letter to a medical group, writing that ‘doctors have told me that fluoridation may harm pregnant women, people with thyroid problems and the elderly.’”


The article even cites The Lancet’s study ,that calls out some industrial chemicals, including fluoride, for causing damage to the developing brain.

This is the summary from this study with the link below.

Neurodevelopmental disabilities, including autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, and other cognitive impairments, affect millions of children worldwide, and some diagnoses seem to be increasing in frequency. Industrial chemicals that injure the developing brain are among the known causes for this rise in prevalence. In 2006, we did a systematic review and identified five industrial chemicals as developmental neurotoxicants: lead, methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, arsenic, and toluene. Since 2006, epidemiological studies have documented six additional developmental neurotoxicants — manganese, fluoride, chlorpyrifos, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, tetrachloroethylene, and the polybrominated diphenyl ethers. We postulate that even more neurotoxicants remain undiscovered. To control the pandemic of developmental neurotoxicity, we propose a global prevention strategy. Untested chemicals should not be presumed to be safe to brain development, and chemicals in existing use and all new chemicals must therefore be tested for developmental neurotoxicity. To coordinate these efforts and to accelerate translation of science into prevention, we propose the urgent formation of a new international clearinghouse.

The last part of this study states “ …chemicals in existing use and all new chemicals must therefore be tested….” This is the Lancet Neurology, study. How was this reported by the media?

“The debate over whether to add fluoride to water supplies has flirted with the unhinged,…” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/17/water-fluoridation

So is The Lancet Neurology is flirting with the unhinged? Maybe Harvard is too, and the China Medical University in Shenyang, all are just flirting?

“In a meta-analysis, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and China Medical University in Shenyang for the first time combined 27 studies and found strong indications that fluoride may adversely affect cognitive development in children. Based on the findings, the authors say that this risk should not be ignored, and that more research on fluoride’s impact on the developing brain is warranted.”

According to the WHO,

Fluoride has beneficial effects on teeth at low concentrations in drinking-water, but excessive exposure to fluoride in drinking-water, or in combination with exposure to fluoride from other sources, can give rise to a number of adverse effects. These range from mild dental fluorosis to crippling skeletal fluorosis as the level and period of exposure increases. Crippling skeletal fluorosis is a significant cause of morbidity in a number of regions of the world


Harvard Public Health made the following statements.

But many experts now question the scientific basis for the intervention. In June 2015, the Cochrane Collaboration — a global independent network of researchers and health care professionals known for rigorous scientific reviews of public health policies — published an analysis of 20 key studies on water fluoridation. They found that while water fluoridation is effective at reducing tooth decay among children, “no studies that aimed to determine the effectiveness of water fluoridation for preventing caries [cavities] in adults met the review’s inclusion criteria.”

*The Cochrane report also concluded that early scientific investigations on water fluoridation (most were conducted before 1975) were deeply flawed. “We had concerns about the methods used, or the reporting of the results, in … 97 percent of the studies,” the authors noted. One problem: The early studies didn’t take into account the subsequent widespread use of fluoride-containing toothpastes and other dental fluoride supplements, which also prevent cavities. This may explain why countries that do not fluoridate their water have also seen big drops in cavity rates (see chart).

Once again, I reiterate, we do not have a free press, in science this is reprehensible. This misreporting, is drawing attention away from the elephant in the room; is there a problem with Fluoride? Would the media be honest and report it if there is a problem?

Read the reports on all sides, look at the details. Read about the authors. Do not limit yourself to internet searches, as the internet is very fluid. Do the authors have vested interests? Do the institutions have vested interests? Many of these prestigious institutions have financial ties with companies. That does not mean that their scholars are compromised, but stay away from the ones that are. Many in health care do the right thing, no matter what. Try to find those sources. If you have a medical question, this is exactly the type of provider you want, someone who will care for you honestly and without pressure from undue sources.

Feel free to leave comments and feedback, your ideas and input are welcome, as this is part of the learning process. Peace and Health to all.




RN, "First Do No Harm" everywhere, practice permaculture & explore holistic natural remedies.

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Jrganrn, Theflowernurse.com

Jrganrn, Theflowernurse.com

RN, "First Do No Harm" everywhere, practice permaculture & explore holistic natural remedies.

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