Fluoridation: Some simple chemistry

I often get comments about the chemistry of community water fluoridation which make clear the need for a simple explanation of some of the chemical concepts involved.  Here is an article I wrote some time ago on this but, for the life of me, I cannot remember where I put it on-line. So, I might be repeating myself – but, at least, it makes the article available. (t can also be downloaded as a pdf – just click on the title

Some chemistry issues involved in the fluoridation debate

Some claims made by critics of community water fluoridation (CWF) are chemically wrong. However, they may seem convincing to people without a chemical background.

Here I discuss some of the chemistry involved in the fluoridation debate and show how these claims are wrong.

What happens when a solid dissolves in water?

dissolving crystalIn a solid like ordinary salt (NaCl) the atoms exist as positively (Na+ cations) and negatively (Cl- anions) ions in a rigid lattice structure. This structure is generally stable as the ions are held together by electrostatic forces. But the structure can often be disrupted by water. The water molecular (H2O) is polar – it has a negatively charged end (the O atom) and a positively charged end (the H atoms).  These ends are attracted to the oppositely charged ions, surrounding them and bringing them into solution.

Once in solution, the ions are free from the rigid lattice and move about by themselves. The cations and anions are randomly mixed up through the volume of solution.

The ions are also hydrated. Depending on the chemical nature of the ion and its charge there may be different numbers of water molecules in the primary hydration shell right next to the ion. But other water molecules are also weakly associated outside the primary shell so we can think of anions and cations in solution as being sheathed by jackets of water molecules.


Can calcium fluoride exist in solution?

Some people suggest that natural forms of calcium fluoride are not toxic because the calcium modifies the fluoride. But technically there is no such thing as calcium fluoride in solution.

In nature fluoride is usually present as solid fluorite (calcium fluoride) or fluorapatite (a calcium phosphate containing fluoride and other ions). But when calcium fluoride dissolves the ions separate and the resulting solution is a random mixture of hydrated fluoride anions and hydrated calcium cations.

Fluorite (“natural” calcium fluoride) dissolves to form hydrated calcium cations and fluoride anions.

So our “natural” water containing “natural” fluoride actually does not contain calcium fluoride. Calcium fluoride does not exist as a separate species in solution. It contains a random mixture of hydrated fluoride anions and hydrated calcium cations.

We can describe this with the chemical formula:

CaF2  →  Ca2+(aq) + 2F(aq)

Where the (aq) notation identifies the ion as being hydrated in the solution.

What ions are in your drinking water?

In the real world, our “natural” water source contains more than this, though. It contains other ions which have dissolved from minerals or from other sources like rain and runoff.

In reality, our “natural” water should be considered as a solution of a range of randomly distributed anions and cations. Because of the nature of dissolved ions and the multiple ions present we cannot describe our “natural” water as containing “calcium fluoride,” “sodium chloride” or any other common chemical. These names are really only applicable to the ionic solids. Rather the water is a solution of hydrated Ca2+(aq), Na+(aq), F(aq), Cl(aq), etc. We have to characterise the water by the amounts of each ion present in solution.

The drinking water you get after treatment may contain less of some of the natural ions, or more if extra is added during (eg. F is naturally in the water source but sometimes supplementary fluoride is added to provide concentration optimum for dental health).




Your drinking water contains a random mixture of hydrated anions  and cations



You may think I have missed some obvious ions. For example –  H+(aq) and OH(aq). These are usually understood as present (at extremely low concentrations) and easily derived from the H2O molecule anyway.

H2O (aq)  ↔  H+(aq) + OH(aq)

In practice, water treatment plants adjust the pH (degree of acidity or alkalinity) of your water to very near neutral where the concentration of H+(aq) and OH(aq) are approximately the same and extremely low. They may do this by adding lime (containing Ca2+), ammonia (containing (NH4+) or other chemicals.

What about Al3+(aq)?- after all, chemicals like aluminium sulphate are added to remove colloidal material? However, this procedure works because in dilute solution Al3+(aq) hydrolyses (reacts with water) to form solid Al(OH)3 – so removing Al3+(aq) from solution.

Fluoridating chemicals

These are sometimes added during water treatment. Their purpose is to increase the fluoride (F) concentration to levels which are optimum of dental health. The chemicals used are generally fluorosilicic acid, sodium fluorosilicate or sodium fluoride.

Some critics of fluoridation argue these chemicals are toxic and calcium fluoride, a “natural” form of fluoride, is safe. They have even argued that community water fluoridation would be OK if CaF2 was used. But this argument is faulty for a number of reasons.

  • The lower toxicity of CaF2 is a result of its lower solubility. This is why some studies show the toxicity of high concentrations of fluoride can be reduced by addition of calcium salts.
  • Despite its low solubility CaF2 is sufficiently soluble to maintain a fluoride concentration of about 8 ppm (mg/L) – still far higher than the optimum concentrations aimed for in CWF (0.7 ppm).
  • The low solubility of CaF2 makes it impractical as a fluoridating chemical as if added as a solid uniform equilibrium concentrations would be difficult to achieve. If added as a liquid we would need a container almost as large as the water reservoir itself to store the near saturated CaF2
  • “Natural” CaF2 would be too impure for use in water treatment. Expensive processing (involving conversion to hydrofluoric acid and precipitation of CaF2) would be required to reduce the impurities.

Sometimes critics argue that “natural” fluoride in water is in the form of CaF2 which makes it safe because of the presence of Ca. But remember that CaF2 does not exist in solution which contains a random mixture of cations and anions. The hydrated Ca2+ ion is present in water naturally because it is derived from a range of sources besides fluoride minerals. It is also often added to water during treatment. So your drinking water already contains calcium, and usually at higher concentrations than if all the fluoride had been derived from “natural” CaF2

What about fluorosilicates?

Some critics of CWF claim that fluoride is not the problem. That because the most commonly used fluoridating chemicals are fluorosilicic acid (H2SiF6) and sodium fluorosilicate (Na2SiF6) the problem is the fluorosilicate species. They will even claim that we are drinking fluorosilicic acid and claim that there has been no testing of the safety of this chemical in drinking water.

But this claim is wrong. In fact, fluorosilicates react with water when diluted. They decompose to form silica and the hydrated fluoride anion. Consequently, safety studies made with sodium fluoride are completely relevant to these fluoridating chemicals when diluted.


A small amount of silica is normally present in drinking water. There is a tendency for this to polymerise and end up as solid SiO2.

Because of the extreme dilution of the fluorosilicate the liberated H+(aq) does not have a measurable effect on the pH mainly because of the equilibrium:

H2O (aq)  ↔  H+(aq) + OH(aq)

Anyway, the pH of the water is adjusted during treatment to neutral values (by the addition of acids, soda ash or lime) to prevent acid attack on pipes.

Chemicals in drinking water are extremely dilute

Critics will often wave pictures of bags of chemical being added to drinking water. Often they will illustrate their claimed danger of fluoridating chemicals by referring to safety data sheets. But these data sheets provide information on the storage, handling and disposal of the concentrated chemicals and have no relevance to the extremely dilute nature of the final drinking water.

The recommended optimum concentration of fluoride in drinking water is 0.7 ppm. Humans have difficulty imagining such extreme dilutions but the following figure provides some idea in day-to-day concepts.


Similar articles

70 responses to “Fluoridation: Some simple chemistry

  1. The above chemical “explanation” may well be true, but it doesn’t show that fluoridation has any dental benefits.


  2. Of course not, Mike. It is a description of the chemistry involved in dissolving comounds in water, not an article about efficacy regarding tooth decay. I have written several articles on that, though – have a search on this blog to find them.


  3. Those against fluoridation also point out that the fluoride being used is a waste byproduct of processing aluminum. Have you covered this in any of your articles?

    Those for fluoride in the water say it is necessary for dental health. I have been using non-fluoride toothpaste for a couple of years now. I think I am actually experiencing less cavities and tooth problems. Have you covered this in any of your articles, whether we actually need fluoride or not? Have you covered the negative results of fluoride on teeth?

    Regardless of the whether or not we need fluoride, it is still at least ethically wrong, in my opinion, to add this to our drinking water without our consent or vote. Portland recently voted it out, which I think is progress. But they were literally forcing fluoride down our throats before this. What do you have to say about that?

    What if those who are in charge decided that the population was getting too high, so they decide to add birth control elements to the water. Would you be for or against this? Where exactly do we as a society draw the line, and how are we to gather the facts so that we can do so in an educated, informed manner? Try Googling for information in fluoride and you will get a glimpse of how hard it is to get educated and informed information.


  4. Stuart Mathieson.

    I suspect many think 0.7 means 70 percent.
    I also realised lately from remarks and assumptions that many don’t know bone particularly human bone is quite porous naturally. Bone is a living material with its own blood supply, cellular metabolism and repair processes.


  5. Stuart Mathieson

    No Mike but there is a veritable mountain of published science and medicine that shows it is.


  6. Outstanding, Ken! Thanks for the info!

    Steven D. Slott, DDS


  7. Going by Stuartg’s logic, anything wrong means you cannot trust the whole essay.

    Note 1,000,000 minutes is more like 2 years than 2,000 years.

    Which means 1 ppm is half a minute per year to make your new year’s resolution.

    Seaweeds concentrate iodine from 0.06 ppm in seawater to 100s or 1000s ppm something like 17,000 times. Which reminds me the signing of the TPPA is planned for 17,000 days after the “moon landing.”

    17,000 times 0.7 ppm brings it closer to 12 grams per litre.

    And so authoritative but no mention of hydronium.

    Ken has simplified the equations without saying so.


  8. DreamBliss, yes I have written on these and other aspects of community water fluoridation. Have a search through this of articles on the subject in the link Fluoridation at the top of the age.

    Now, who the hell is suggesting that anything be added to our water supply without public consultation and democratic decision when the issue is controversial? I have supported such a process in many of my articles. The problem has been, as for example in Hamilton, that the people’s support for community water fluoridation is often ignored.


  9. Brian, did you miss my paragraph:

    You may think I have missed some obvious ions. For example – H+(aq) and OH–(aq). These are usually understood as present (at extremely low concentrations) and easily derived from the H2O molecule anyway.

    H2O (aq) ↔ H+(aq) + OH–(aq)?


  10. Ken,

    Brian is correct!

    The illustration you borrowed to illuminate extreme dilutions was miscalculated by its author. One minute in two thousand years is nearer one part per billion.

    But I don’t think he understands that an example of dilution is not integral to your article on some of the simple chemistry of fluoridation.

    Thanks for the article, it stretched my thinking beyond where I’d previously gone.


  11. Stuart Mathieson

    I’m for adding birth control to the water supply. Permission to bread would require an IQ test of the parents. That way we wouldn’t get idiots writing to this blog.


  12. Stuart Mathieson

    Oops, breed! Considering the crises facing this planet.
    Edit facility would be handy.


  13. Thanks for pointing out the mistake in the graphic – Brian and Stuart.

    Rather than hunt out a more correct version I have edited the image to correct it.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Unfortunately, commenters can’t edit their own comments on wordpress.com – a silly problem you think they could fix. This is what they say:

    Can I edit comments I left on someone else’s blog?

    No. It is not possible to edit or delete any comments you have left on other WordPress.com blogs. Blog owners are in full control of the comments on their blogs, so you can try contacting the blog owner and ask them to edit or delete a comment for you. If the blog owner has not posted any contact information, you can try leaving a short comment asking how to contact them directly.”

    In practice, it’s probably easiest, and quicker, to post an extra comment.


  15. Stuart M wrote: “I suspect many think 0.7 means 70 percent.”

    What do you think it means, Stuart?


  16. Ken wrote: ” You may think I have missed some obvious ions. For example – H+(aq) and OH–(aq). These are usually understood as present (at extremely low concentrations) and easily derived from the H2O molecule anyway.

    H2O (aq) ↔ H+(aq) + OH–(aq)?”

    You missed the hydronium ion or H3O+ which I learned about in the 1960s I think.

    I was puzzled by what you mean by H2O (aq).

    Are you familiar with the way tiny suspended particles in water tend to move away from some surfaces the water is in contact with? And that the “exclusion zone” increases when certain wavelengths of sunlight are incident?

    Another type of water exists: H3O2.

    Some people want to throw away all of a person’s theory or retract their whole paper because they make a little mistake.

    I think it to be better to try and look for why they may be saying what they are.

    Since fluoridation goes with water treatment people may confuse the effects of the two.

    If suspended particles are removed from water in treatment then there may be less surfaces for H3O2 clusters to form around.

    Are you familiar with NMR studies on the type of water in human cells?


  17. You are burbling again, Brian.


  18. H+(aq) can be considered as H3O+ and OH–(aq) as H3O2- Clearly protons and isolated OH- groups don’t exist by themselves in water. The (aq) notation recognises that we can consider more than the primary hydration shell as being associated with the ion and I prefer H+(aq) to H3O+ for that reason. Things can also get very complicated, especially with the transition metals, when one tries to specify numbers of water molecules in the hydration shells.

    Yes, hydrogen bonding and the first row status of H and O means that water has some surprising properties. But there are also a lot of charlatans like Mercola trying (and succeeding with some gullible people) to make money out of bullshitting these properties.

    There have also been a few classical cases of scientists thinking they have discovered new properties or forms of water when in fact they missed a factor like dissolved silica.


  19. Stuart Mathieson.

    0.7 ppm does not mean 70%. It means 0.0000007%.
    And Fe does not cause bone porosity neither does Fl.


  20. Stuart M wrote:”0.7 ppm does not mean 70%. It means 0.0000007%”

    Why did you leave out the ppm before?

    You know in the global warming media manipulation one of the means is to spread confusion so people don’t know what is what.

    And per cent means per hundred,
    As regards your figure 0.0000007%, it is wrong. The figure is 0.00007%
    0.7 is 70% or 700,000 ppm
    0.07 is 7% or 70,000 ppm
    0.007 is 0.7% or 7,000 ppm
    0.0007 is 0.07% or 700 ppm
    0.00007 is 0.007% or 70 ppm
    0.000007 is 0.0007% or 7 ppm
    0.0000007 is 0.00007%. or 0.7 ppm.

    I do not think anyone ever thought fluoridation means what comes through the pipes is 70% fluoride. I do have to consider you are only trying to be confusing,

    Stuart M..I have to consider your next sentence may be setting out to confuse, too, trying to get people to think that someone said something, Stuart M wrote: “And Fe does not cause bone porosity neither does Fl,” to give yourself a chance to rubbish an imaginary person and hope it might stick to someone who has not said that.

    Always be on the look out for tricky perception manipulators, whether in global warming or in any subject.


  21. Ken wrote: “But there are also a lot of charlatans like Mercola trying (and succeeding with some gullible people) to make money out of bullshitting these properties.”

    Do you think it is BS that certain wavelengths of light, IR or UV can increase the EZ?

    Therefore do you think it BS that consuming the so-energised water may be different?

    You acknowledge things can be very complicated. What are the energy considerations, varying heats of solution? And when the solution is happening in a human cell is it BS that that there would be energy considerations in consuming H3O2 rather than H2O.

    When you write H2O (aq) are you acknowledging H3O2, where there is more of it than would be dictated by the [ ][ ] calculation?

    And if there is complexity then you may need to acknowledge some limitation of your “Fluoridation: Some simple chemistry” title.


  22. Yes, Brian, I think Mercola is full of it. And you are simply spreading it around with your pretend confidence that what you are saying has any meaning. It doesn’t.

    Of course, my article has big limitations. It is meant to be simple because the mistakes people are making are very simple mistakes – basically made out of ignorance of the chemistry involved. And people like you and your idol Mercola are trading on that ignorance with your gobbledegook.

    The warning “look out for tricky perception manipulators” applies to Mercola and to you with this rubbish you spout.


  23. Brian,

    The title of the article is “Fluoridation: some simple chemistry.”

    I’d have thought the title was obvious enough. The title already acknowledges limitations. Ken’s not going into advanced or complex chemistry of fluoride or fluoridation with this article.

    He has expanded my own knowledge of simple chemistry of fluoridation, which tended to be limited to the population health side of things.

    It has become obvious that you don’t appear to have the knowledge or understanding to be aware when commenters introduce shortcuts into their comments. It appears that most commenters are assuming that blog readers already have a few years of tertiary education. They don’t write the equivalent of several textbooks of information in their comments for people who have not undertaken that education.

    You then call them out because of not writing those several textbooks (perhaps because you are unaware of their shortcuts?)

    I would suggest that you undertake those several years of education for yourself, so that you are aware of the simplifications commenters make. Commenters make the assumption that readers are already aware of those simplifications.

    We have all noted that you don’t acknowledge tertiary education, or even secondary education.

    Perhaps a BDS, MbChB, or maybe a PhD in fluoride chemistry would enable you to understand Ken’s blog and the commenters on it? Maybe reading those several textbooks of information before you comment would be an advantage?

    In future I’m going to make the assumption that commenters have similar education to Ken and therefore don’t need education in the basics.


  24. Sorry about the length of that comment, Ken.

    I posted before I read your comment.


  25. My knowledge of Shakespeare’s works ended at secondary year 13. Art history at year 9. I wouldn’t presume to comment on a blog about either.

    I’ve learned from Ken about the simple chemistry of fluoridation, but can’t comment because he’s already advanced my knowledge in the subject.

    Population health of fluoridation is entirely different (university level 8?)


  26. Stuartg wrote: “Ken’s not going into advanced or complex chemistry of fluoride or fluoridation with this article.”
    “Perhaps a BDS, MbChB, or maybe a PhD in fluoride chemistry would enable you to understand Ken’s blog and the commenters on it?”

    Bit of confusion-mongering there.

    Twice now I have asked Ken what he means by H2O (aq).
    He has written after my first request: “H+(aq) can be considered as H3O+ and OH–(aq) as H3O2- Clearly protons and isolated OH- groups don’t exist by themselves in water. The (aq) notation recognises that we can consider more than the primary hydration shell as being associated with the ion and I prefer H+(aq) to H3O+ for that reason.”

    So for the reversible reaction he gave indicated by:

    H2O (aq) ↔ H+(aq) + OH–(aq)?”

    he has only commented on the right hand side. At first reading I had to presume H2O (aq) as something which applies to the non-ionised water before a tiny fraction of it dissociates reversibly into ions.

    Now he has explained that H+(aq) includes the H3O+ and also more complex structures. and that OH-(aq) includes OH- and more complex structures.

    But he seems to avoid talking about greater complexity in undissociated or non-ionised water as H2O(aq) would seem to imply.


  27. Ken wrote: “goobledegook.”
    Sorry I don’t write as clearly as Pollack. If a term like EZ is what you complain of as gobbledegook, a year ago I wrote and quoted from a paper citing Pollack:
    “soundhill1 | January 21, 2015 at 8:19 pm |

    If you are thinking of liquid water as a chemical it is no longer thought of as being homogeneous. I have reported Pollack and here is a paper citing his group: ” We have investigated the case of an interesting variety of liquid water reported in literature, namely the case of the so called Exclusion Zone (EZ) water examined by the group led by G.H. Pollack [16,17]. This water is detectable close to hydrophilic surfaces, such as Nafion, and exhibits
    properties quite different from those found in normal bulk water: a) EZ water is unable to host solutes, and this is the root
    of the name Exclusion Zone; b) its viscosity is much higher than that of normal water suggesting the presence of a strong
    interaction among molecules; c) it is an electron-donor, a chemical reducer, whereas normal water is a mild oxidant; consequently the interface EZ water/normal water is a red-ox pile, where the red-
    ox potential could have a jump of a fraction of a Volt; d) it exhibits a fluorescent response in the UV region at 270 nm. EZ water should therefore imply a major reorganization of the molecular
    structure of water, in particular (see property d) with respect
    to the electronic structure.”

    Click to access 1310.0635.pdf

    It must be opening up new understanding in biochemistry. Need to keep up before authoritatively propounding on individual biochemistry.”

    Ken wants people to accept the simple theory. But perhaps they are feeling that is not sufficient, even if they express their doubts wrongly.


  28. Stuart Mathieson

    You accused me of suggesting porosity was caused by Fe. I suspect because you interprete the nonesense about fl weakening bone as implying bone is normally solid. That seems to be the implication. The hysteria about Fl contamination suggests you antis have no idea about dosage. “Trace elements” means just that, traces.


  29. Stuart Mathieson

    Brian, dragging up studies (wonder how it came to your attention) on water at the QED level affords you think the opportunity to suggest that characteristics of the source material for fluoride, somehow persists because of “exclusion zones”. I suggest you found this in homeopathy literature.
    This of course is why you think water “remembers” (retains) it’s toxic (or appealing) characteristics. I’ve tried it out on whiskey. Doesn’t work.


  30. Stuart Mathieson

    I see I have badly under estimated your level of interest in water chemistry. You will find the following of interest.
    Quantum state-selected photodissociation dynamics in H2O and D2O

    A. Hodgson , J.P. Simons , M.N.R. Ashfold , J.M. Bayley and R.N. Dixon
    a Department of Chemistry , The University , Nottingham, NG7 2RD, England b School of Chemistry, The University, Cantock’s Close , Bristol, BS8 1TS, England

    Molecular Physics

    Volume 54, Issue 2, 1985, pages 351- 368
    Published online: 23 Aug 2006

    DOI: 10.1080/00268978500100281

    Two photon excitation, tunable near 248·5 nm, has been used to dissociate H2O/D2O via the [Ctilde] 1 B 1 and [Btilde] 1 A 1 states. Rotationally resolved OH/OD(A 2Σ+) photofragment excitation spectra are reported, following excitation to predissociated levels of [Ctilde] 1 B 1. Rotational resolution of the OH/OD(A 2Σ+ → X 2Π) fluorescence, generated from individual J′ K a K c levels of [Ctilde] 1 B 1, allows full quantum state selection in both the entry and exit channels. The OH/OD(A 2Σ+) fragment is formed rotationally hot as a result of the large change in bond angle in going from [Xtilde] 1 A 1 (or [Ctilde] 1 B 1) to the linear dissociative [Btilde] 1 A 1 surface. Product alignment measurements allow assignment of the two photon continuum absorption to [Btilde] 1 A 1: a-axis rotation in [Ctilde] 1 B 1 destroys product alignment from these levels. Electronic branching from ⪷B 1 A 1 to à 1 B 1 (and/or [Xtilde] 1 A 1) during the dissociation forms ground state OH/OD(X 2Π). Relative branching ratios are obtained and display a strong K′a dependence.


  31. Brian,

    I can’t help your confusion.

    I suggested that you undertake a few years of tertiary education.

    That may alleviate your confusion.


  32. Brian, this article is an attempt to provide some understanding to readers who may have a naïve understanding of the simple chemistry involved. They advance concepts like molecules of CaF2 being in solution, etc. They do not understand what is actually in solution when an ionic salt dissolves. Nor do they understand solubility – thinking that a material is either completely insoluble or completely soluble.

    I think it is useful to introduce such people to the concept of hydrated ions so they can understand how they are different when dissolved compared with the mostly unhdryated ions in a solid.

    I am no stranger to the complex understanding of the structure of water and how this changes at surface boundaries, etc. This is old hat to me. But it is irrelevant to this specific situation and your attempt to divert attention away from the articles is simply that – a dishonest diversion because you cannot fault the article itself.

    Your promotion of a weird interpretation of the nature of water by people like Mercola is hardly a surprise to people who comment here. But it is completely irrelevant.

    If you really want to promote such silly ideas I suggest you get your own blog and promote to your heart’s content. After all, readers ay more attention to the articles than weird comments buried far below the article.


  33. I suggest you get your won blog and promote to your heart’s content.

    Amen to that.


  34. Ken, some criticism of fluoridation process vs “natural water” may relate to addition of fluoride but no calcium hardener if the water were soft, making the new dietary fluoride/calcium ratio out of balance for some people.

    pH may sometimes be adjusted, in association with fluoridation, by adding NaOH, sodium hydroxide, rather than lime which is a calcium compound.

    You want to add fluoride as a health promoter and I am sad you do not wish to discuss/clarify/explore other water/health issues.

    Mercola may overstate some stuff but I feel you look even more silly by denying entirely.

    You look silly making up a straw man and bashing Mercola when I did not bring this H302 matter from him. At the same time you ignore my request to speak further on the left side of your equation
    H2O (aq) ↔ H+(aq) + OH–(aq)
    which I hoped could acknowledge a greater complexity to non-dissociated water.

    Stuart M has cited about radiative dissociation of water but I don’t think about the combination of mild radiation with a zone in water close to a solid surface, which could occur in “natural water” with some suspended solids in it.

    I do not claim to be always correct and I may have said, having seen calcium fluoride available in health food stores, that it could he healthier than sodium fluoride. Owing to stomach acid that may be faulty thinking, though.


  35. Brian, did you not realise when I used the terminology “H2O(aq)” that this acknowledges the complexity of water? Further discussion of this complexity is obviously not appropriate in this article. Your attempt at discussion of this is simply a diversion away from the article – and a chance for you to promote, as does Marcola, unscientific concepts which misrepresent that complexity.

    When you produce a blog article on your own blog clearly outlining the story you are attempting to sell I may possibly join in any discussion of it. But here is not the place for such a diversion.


  36. Stuartg wrote: “Brian,

    I can’t help your confusion.

    I suggested that you undertake a few years of tertiary education.”

    There has been a theme in this group that “natural water” is a silly concept.

    In this article Ken has written:
    “So our “natural” water containing “natural” fluoride actually does not contain calcium fluoride. ”

    But he dosen’t seem to want more discussion of why treated water may seem different to people even if they got the reasons wrong.

    And when he says “unscientific” is he aiming at the concept of exclusion zone? For that is a scientific concept which you may possibly view for yourself by noting the increase in width of a zone around an object in water when light is shining on it, an “exclusion zone,” the zone in which suspended particles are absent.

    So Stuartg I suggest you do some study. It seems pretty strange to me that a doctor has not come across how a tooth pulp is often removed.

    And if you have not time to read or watch you may just listen to this interview with the discoverer of strange water properties, a biomechanics professor at MIT. about water: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3Sy1SZNebk
    You may need to turn up the volume a bit to hear the questions.

    It also refers to Nobel Prize Winner, Luc Montagnier’s discovery of HIV and how Luc believes water has a memory in answer to Stuart M’s comment.


  37. Stuart Mathieson.

    Ken and all.
    I think a professionally mad video/TV program that is downloadable on the chemistry and efficacy of CWF should be made. It needs though to anticipate the common myths broadcast by snake oil experts. We used to have great educational science programs on TV back in the 60s. They drew big audiences too. A physical science equivalent to Natural History NZ would do the trick.
    Stuart M.


  38. Great idea Stuart, but such television sounds suspiciously like a public service. Alas, public service television and broadcasting is effectively extinct in NZ.
    So pasta knows how it might be funded, any ideas?


  39. Stuart Mathieson.

    Richard I’ve already floated the idea to Ross Johnston of the Science Communication Centre at Otago. His graduate students do their masters making science based films. There are others who are interested in public education. Ian Griffin, doctorate in astronomy and new director of the Otago museum. Then there’s the Foundation Centre at Otago that provides courses for students about to embark on studies at Otago. There’s the Natural History film makers in Dunedin too and lectures from the Royal Society of NZ and the late lamented Alan Wilson centre certainly drew large enthusiastic audiences in Dunedin and I gather elsewhere as well.

    Universities are concerned about declining numbers and off campus papers might be the answer. They are already available overseas and date back to the Open University in the UK.

    Initially they could cater for people who did not do senior secondary education let alone university studies and they could apply general scientific principles to topical issues that require serious political attention. I think sponsorship could be found. Even some of the big boys in oil are talking about a transition to sustainable energy and tackling environmental pollution. Professional denial is stupidly short sighted and many business people know this.


  40. Stuart Mathieson.

    You should learn how to formulate appropriate formulations in Google. Look for disconfirming articles in well known transparent generally respected and contended web sites. Wikipedia for example is a good starting point. If you think some French fringe film maker knows more about water chemistry and medicine than mainstream peer reviewed reviewed science you need to talk to somebody face to face.
    Check out the following and note the absence of successful reproducible independent tests. Improbability might satisfy your religious instincts Brian but it’s no substitute for science.


  41. Stuart Mathieson

    Talking of improbability or even downright impossibility, it’s that according to psychologists and philosophers of religion that makes religious stories and miraculous accounts so appealing.

    This is why the pseudo sceptics of this world find ordinary science boring. Possessing some of the “damaged goods” characteristics of psychopaths, it’s the extravagant and unusual that fires up their opioid circuits. So the causes they pursue are really about them.


  42. Brian,

    For such a self declared expert in teeth, it’s surprising that you don’t appear to know that teeth are of different sizes and locations in the mouth, that they have different numbers and sizes of roots, that dentists use different methods to extract pulp, and that the same dentist will use different methods to extract pulp from different teeth in the same mouth.

    But you are surprised when I don’t mention the method of pulp extraction that you have heard of!

    When I mention a procedure outside of my field of study, I acknowledge it’s outside my field of study and that I am not an expert in the area. Since I’m not a dentist, no-one but yourself is surprised that I’m not a good source of knowledge on dentistry.

    Contrast your own approach – an expert in everything (including teeth and dentistry) and your knowledge is definitive no matter the subject. That’s indicative of a belief structure rather than application of science.

    You have the ability to read current knowledge, research, theories, hypotheses, speculation and even the spurious pseudoscience of Mercola, but your comments convey that you do not have the understanding to distinguish between the different categories.

    It appears that your level of education on most subjects is not sufficient to realise it’s incomplete. Look up Dunning-Kruger.


  43. “I suggest you get your own blog.”

    …but is anyone going to read a blog that is cut and pasted from Mercola?


  44. Stuart Mathieson.

    Re Foundation Courses.
    Had a positive response from a senior person in the Science Communication Centre at Otago. He is going to pass it on. I’ll contact the VC next.
    Remember the WEA courses that operated until 1984?
    I attended night classes at the old Dunedin Technical College (pre Polytechnic) in the 1970s to bone up on “New Maths” and discovered I was good at it. They also offered courses in physics and chemistry as well. These could be fitted around paid employment.
    If anyone has suitable contacts at other tertiary centres feel free. They must be available on line and be quite affordable to low income people.
    I think the government has a responsibility to provide and finance these. It shouldn’t be left to private enterprise but would be good background courses for trade training. A good indication of motivation and native ability.


  45. Stuartg lashed out at me in desperation: ““I suggest you get your own blog.”

    …but is anyone going to read a blog that is cut and pasted from Mercola?”

    I am beginning to think Stuartg has more of a political media training than medical. Make as many false assertions as you can get away with and hope something sticks. It is a common practice.

    I suppose I can find out if he is a trained doctor by complaining to the Medical Council of the supposed doctor behaving unprofessionally, putting the profession into disrepute.


  46. Stuartg remember we were side-tracked and talking about whether a tooth pulp could have looked like a worm.

    Stuartg wrote:

    For such a self declared expert in teeth, it’s surprising that you don’t appear to know that teeth are of different sizes and locations in the mouth, that they have different numbers and sizes of roots, that dentists use different methods to extract pulp, and that the same dentist will use different methods to extract pulp from different teeth in the same mouth.”

    And in some teeth they do not bother such as wisdom teeth. They just pull the tooth.

    See this x-ray at full size and note the pulp canals in the teeth are dark. There plenty enough big enough ones that some of the ancients drilling out jaw bones may have been confused between pulp and worms. In the molars with more than one root the canals are a bit thinner. And they may be bent, so I am wondering what sort of drill you were talking of to clean the pulp out, rather than the flexible barbed object I showed a photo of with a pulp on it, followed by a flexible file..


  47. Stuartg wrote: “If you think some French fringe film maker knows more about water chemistry and medicine than mainstream peer reviewed reviewed science you need to talk to somebody face to face.”

    Usually film makers cover various subjects. But I am sorry the machine transcription of the spoken French into English text was not successful. I put too much confidence in Luc Montagnier’s Nobel Prize and did the cite before checking.

    But how did you get on with the Gerald Pollack interview?


  48. Brian,

    I suggest that you learn to distinguish between commenters. Reading names would help. (I don’t know anything about French film makers, so why would I make that comment?)

    “I suggest you get your own blog” – in quotes because it was the third time in these comments. Mere humorous agreement with previous commenters. Didn’t you read the others? Aren’t you able to recognise humour?

    Unlike yours, my comments have no political agenda. Your agenda appears to support the use of pseudoscience, and everyone following your personal beliefs, rather than the use of the scientific method. This is pretty strange considering Kens’ is a scientific blog.

    At the moment you seem pretty upset because I challenged you about tooth worms, which you then decided could have been pulp moving like worms. Since tooth pulp does not have the anatomic structures to be able to move, and that was pointed out to you, you’ve diverted more and more from your original assertion, getting more and more upset.

    A scientist would have said OK, my error, and gone on from there.

    I have pointed out that you have not been able to acknowledge your initial errors (tooth worms and pulp being able to move). You’ve tried to support your error by saying “So-and-so said it” and referring to online video. A scientist would have shown us the textbooks or peer reviewed research, if there was any. Yours is not the behaviour of a scientist, but of someone with a belief structure. You appear to become even more upset when this is pointed out to you.

    Oh, by the way, acknowledgement of my knowledge and education, including the limitations of that knowledge, is in no way “behaving unprofessionally, putting the profession into disrepute.”

    Perhaps you could try acknowledging the limits of your own knowledge and education? It’s only polite to let other commenters know your educational background, as they have let you know theirs. One can only speculate at the reasons you fail to acknowledge your own educational achievements.

    Liked by 1 person

  49. I give up about teeth.

    My replies to Brian’s comments on teeth are still within the limits of a good high school education. That education tells me, for instance, that tooth worms don’t exist and that arteries are incapable of independent movement.

    Showing us a teenagers’ OPG only tells us that he can find one on the ‘net, but it does illustrate my comment about the variety found in teeth.

    There are many ways to remove the pulp of a tooth, I know that. The only one I’ve actually witnessed was on an incisor and the dentist used a drill in his own fingers. So, yes, a drill can be used, and yes, other methods can be used. I’m not a dentist, so don’t use me for advanced information on dentistry (I believe I’ve said something along those lines before).


  50. Stuartg, you liked a little play on words “mosquitoes.”

    Stuart M referred to parasites and bone health in archaeology so in parallel in a fashion I brought in the other “parasite” topic, the tooth pulp looking like a worm and acknowledged that way by archaeological sources.

    Stuartg you are welcome to take a laugh at the old sources and the dentist who I see in 1999 talked about “the wriggling nerve tissue” (meaning the nerves and their blood supply in the pulp), as he replied to me about I problem I had. But Stuartg I think the laugh is looking more like it is on you as you give up.

    “Joel M. Eichen


    Hi guys!
    A properly instrumented root canal is what is the goal.

    The nerve tissue is removed with a file or a broach. It the tooth is
    still vital, the wriggling nerve tissue is removed and one can observe
    the contractions of the tissue as it lies there on the bracket table.
    Quite interesting.

    Other root canal procedures are performed on non-vital teeth. This
    means that the nervous tissue has either dissolved or partially
    dissolved which is the problem. This is where the pain factor is the

    I suspect that is the problem here.

    You’ll need a bit of patience.



    Joel M. Eichen, D.D.S.”


  51. Stuart M.

    In your 9:19 am reply comment are you trying to suggest Gerald Pollack is in that category?


  52. Stuart Mathieson
  53. Stuart M I took a quick look. Reference to homeopathy which Luc Montagnier said his stuff does not apply to.

    Also failure to acknowledge Gerald Pollacks major contribution of the effect of light UV or IR on the exclusion zone which excludes solutes or colloids near a surface like glass which atract water (hydrophyllic.)

    And the general failure of “sceptic” analysis as they start to make links to UFOs.

    Better please.


  54. Stuart Mathieson

    There many snake oil salesmen in the world and many of them have BDS and DDS after their names. Typically in the U.S. They were “Colonels” or “Professor”. Plenty in Vienna too.
    But Brian they only flourish because of the gullible multitudes who believe them.



  55. Stuart M.

    You have repeated the same URL.

    You are right about gullible people. Well with regard to Luc Montagnier’s water memory, homeopaths are hoping it will apply to their practice though he does not say that.

    If Luc is wrong then even a Nobel Prize cannot be trusted.

    I guess Nobel people are the ones who have pushed barriers and broken through and won’t change their approach.

    I think there are many gullible people taken in any field, not just frontier science. I have suggested that Stuartg may be labelling inquiring patients as “flight of thought” or whatever and psychiatrically medicating them when a younger doctor might be able to answer.


  56. Stuart Mathieson

    There are plenty of Nobel laureates who have talked nonesense outside their field of expertise especially when they are advancing in years and getting a bit eccentric. Freeman Dysons an example. Some of the Manhattan project scientists supported Big Tobacco and denied the epidemiological science there. The IPCC committee was awarded a Nobel Prize. Two of the members were New Zealanders, Blair Fitzharris and Jim Salinger. It’s the evidence and the arguments that count, not the fame of the individual. But numbers of appropriately qualified people do count particularly if they arrived at the same conclusion via different disciplines. This is called scientific consilience and is a good argument for scientific realism.


  57. Nobel laureate who talked nonsense outside of his field of expertise: Linus Pauling.


  58. “So-and-so said it.”

    “So-and-so” = “Joel M. Eichen, D.D.S.”

    Thanks for supplying us with that exquisitely written, impeccably researched, peer reviewed article on the devitalisation of healthy teeth. It merely confirms your degree of adherence to the scientific method, Brian.


  59. In case you didn’t understand me, Brian, Eichen was talking about killing off healthy teeth by removing tooth pulp.

    That’s certainly an alternative approach to ethical dentists whose method is to keep teeth alive and healthy.


  60. Stuartg wrote: “In case you didn’t understand me, Brian, Eichen was talking about killing off healthy teeth by removing tooth pulp.”

    It probably happens to all dentists sometime. There are ways of telling whether pulp is vital. An endodentist put a very cold substance against my tooth. Now I don’t know if he were trying to prove the tooth were dead or whether he were trying to ascertain if the tooth were a problem

    Also I presume there may be a painful abscess beginning without the pulp being totally dead.

    If the tooth is totally dead no painkiller injection is required to drill it.

    Anyway Stuartg you should have considered live pulp before you went on about all this.


  61. Stuartg wrote: “There are many ways to remove the pulp of a tooth, I know that. The only one I’ve actually witnessed was on an incisor and the dentist used a drill in his own fingers. So, yes, a drill can be used, and yes, other methods can be used.”

    In which case it would have been a whole lot less confusing for readers if you had said a “drill bit.”

    To say, “use a drill,” to most people in the dental setting would normally means the handpiece driver plus the drill bit.

    Anyway I do not think a drill bit would be being used even in the fingers. A drill is to cut away enamel or dentine, and the dentist does not want to widen the canal if they are only removing pulp, because widening the canal weakens the tooth and root-filled teeth get weak anyway. The filler put in the root canal is normally a rubbery substance called “gutta percha,” with no strength.

    After taking out the pulp with broach or whatever, some tissue may remain on the dentine, and that is cleaned away with a rotating file held in the fingers, and that may be what you saw.

    If a post and crown is to be fitted some more dentine may be bored out with a drill, but that is not pulp removal.


  62. “So-and-so said it” – yep.

    Killing living teeth – yep.


  63. Scientific approach – hope.


  64. Oops, spellchecker

    “Scientific approach – nope”


  65. The explanation you give about ions and cations is correct, almost everybody knows that if a solid dissolves in water, it produces
    a solution, and this implies the separation of ions, so the original ionic compound does not exist in the solution. But you say that “technically there is no such thing as calcium fluoride in solution”, but then, what is the correct terminology we should use to mention a liquid formed when we put 1 gram of CaF2 in one liter of water? If it is NOT a CaF2 solution, then what is it? Should we say it is a soup of cations and anions of Calcium ions and Fluoride? There must be a short name for that.
    If technically “there is no such thing as CaF2”, then the same concept is for NaF or NaCl, or MgF2 or SiF4, solutions, because in all cases, the solids are dissolved and the resultant liquids are only a soup of cations and anions, surrounded by water molecules, just as CaF2.
    If some manufacturers or Chemists mention a NaCl solution, are they
    wrong? .
    Regarding the usefulness of Fluoride compounds, I think the antifluoridationists are right when they say that CaF2 in water is better (or safer) than NaF. Even though the Fluoride ions are the same in all cases, the water contains also OTHER ions accompanying the Fluoride. If the cations are Sodium, they are NOT useful for teeth. But Calcium ions (in the CaF2 solution) ARE useful, since the structure of Hydroxyapatite and Fluorapatite contains Calcium, Phosphor, Oxygen, Hydrogen, and Fluoride ions (in Fluorapatite). However it does NOT contain any SODIUM. Therefore, it is not convenient to use NaF or other types of Fluorides, only CaF2, because the enamel structure does not need Sodium ions or Silicon ions. Besides, an excess of Sodium is bad for health, and if they fluoridate the water with NaF, people is drinking Fluoride but also Sodium. Then, it is safer to drink water with Calcium and fluoride, than water with Sodium and fluoride. Do you agree?


  66. MQ Q – sure, but I am not sure the “almost everybody knows” knows this – although chemists should. But even anti-fluoride chemists seem to get caught by the argument – possibly because they are making opportunist use of the low solubility of CaF2 without doing the calculations.

    I did use the word “technically” and, as a chemist, if I make up a solution using solid NaF I do call it a NaF solution – knowing full well, as do other chemists, that it does not contain any NaF species but does contain the hydrated and separated anions and cations. The same would be true if I made up a solution using CaF2 – no Ca-F species are present.

    When it comes to tap water, whether it is fluoridated or not, it will contain calcium, magnesium, ettc., and fluoride, chloride, etc., hydrated species at various concentrations. Do the calculations (and check the analytical data from water treatment plants, and you will see that fluoridated tap water actually contains more calcium and magnesium and phosphate than a solution of either NaF or CaF2 made up with tap water to the optimum F concentration (extremely low). That is because the concentration of these species naturally in the source water is higher than in such a dilute solution of NaF, CaF2, etc., made with distilled water.

    In fact, protection against tooth decay is related to the calcium and fluoride concentrations in drinking water. And sodium added by the fluoridating chemical is infinitesimal.

    When you drink tap water you are drinking water with Ca and F in it. Fluoridated water has the optimum concentration of F but the levels of Ca, Na, etc. have not been changed by the addition of such a small amount of fluoridating chemical.

    To stress and summarise, whatever the source of F, fluoridating chemical or natural source in drinking water the calcium concentration is not influenced – nor is the sodium concentration. The calcium concentration is many times greater than what could be added using CaF2, given the low solubility of that compound.

    Antiu-fluoride people get caught up by the low solubility of CaF2 – but that low solubility is high enough to maintain F and Ca concentrations near 8 ppm – very much higher than the optimum concentration for F (usually around 0.75 ppm) and much lower than the normal natural Ca concentration in the source water (usually 20 ppm or greater).

    This whole argument used by anti-fluoridationists is naive and simply wrong – as simple calculations and reference to analytical data from water treatment plants shows.


  67. Ken, you say: “Antiu-fluoride people get caught up by the low solubility of CaF2 – but that low solubility is high enough to maintain F and Ca concentrations near 8 ppm” – Then, do you mean that whatever amount of CaF2 used to fluoridated water (or contained in “natural” water- non artificially fluoridated) produces 8 ppm? Then why in many cities in the world, government does not add any Fluoride in water and it contains only from 0.5 to 1.5 ppm? Since the water does not contain HFSA or NaF, it must contain CaF2, but it is not 8 ppm as you say but much less, and due to some Calcium instead of Sodium or Silicon in it, I suppose it is much safer than the water fluoridated by countries like USA or New Zealand. Besides, even if the water fluoridated with CaF 2 produces always 8ppm of Fluoride ions, (which I dont believe, since it can be possible if the water is SATURATED with CaF2) then if you have one liter of that water, the only thing you have to do is to mix it with 7 liters of water purified by Reversal Osmosis,(ZERO Fluoride) then you have 8 liters of water with 1 ppm of Fluoride . Am I wrong? –
    I will try to send you some data of cities that have water with less than 1.5 ppm Fluoride, and they are not artificially fluoridated.


  68. No, I do not mean ” that whatever amount of CaF2 used to fluoridated water (or contained in “natural” water- non artificially fluoridated) produces 8 ppm?” Not at all. I was clearly talking about an upper limit set by the solubility product of CaF2.

    Simple chemistry.


Leave a Reply: please be polite to other commenters & no ad hominems.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s