Fluoridation and Mis-Folding

Q I’ve been trying your FoldRight. Not sure it’s solving any of my problems, but I am interested in the theory behind the formulation and am willing to continue using it, to see if I can realize any discernable benefits. On a related issue, would you be able to translate into common English or at least into more generalized descriptions the terms “mis-folding” and “polypeptides” in the following phrase? “Silicofluoride-treated water induces protein mis-folding via a mechanism that would affect polypeptides in general.” This quote is from Coplan MJ, Patch SC, Masters RD, Bachman MS. Confirmation of and explanations for elevated blood lead and other disorders in children exposed to water disinfection and fluoridation chemicals. Neurotoxicology. 2007 Sep;28(5):1032-42.

Brek, Milwaukee, WI

A Fluoridation of the water supply has had a level of hysteria associated with it for a long time. In Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 dark comedy, Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and to Love the Bomb one of the zany characters, General Jack D. Ripper, launches a nuclear attack against the Soviet Union because he believes that fluoridation is sapping the strength of the nation. In truth, while fluoride does have benefits for dental health, putting it in reservoirs to fight caries is a case of overkill, and may produce unintended consequences.

Can one of those consequences be mis-folded protein polypeptides? Protein folding is the physical process by which a polypeptide folds into its characteristic and functional three-dimensional structure from random coil. Specialized proteins called chaperones assist in the folding of proteins. Chaperones also prevent misfolding and protein aggregation which may occur as a consequence of exposure to heat or other changes in the cellular environment. If there is too much fluoride during tooth development, especially in children during the ages of 1 and 4 (but rarely over the age of 8), the result can be dental fluorosis, a undesirable condition in its mild form (most common) in which tiny white streaks or specks appear on the teeth. In its severe form, teeth may exhibit black and brown stains, as well as cracking and pitting.

While the exact mechanism of how fluoride causes fluorosis remains unknown, exposure to fluoride can inhibit protein synthesis, and this may also be caused by agents that cause endoplasmic reticulum stress (stress that disrupts the membrane network organelle structure within cells). As a consequence, translated proteins fail to fold properly (or become misfolded), and endoplasmic reticulum stress response genes are induced that together comprise the unfolded protein response.1

Regarding your question about silicofluorides, it appears that they can cause mis-folding in protein polypeptides, which consequently degrade and along with labile calcium may concentrate in the surface region of enamel mineralization. Although the paper that you cited doesn’t prove causality, it suggests that this process might be a possible explanation for dental fluorosis and other undesirable effects as the above might indicate.


  1. Kubota K, Lee DH, Tsuchiya M, Young CS, Everett ET, Martinez-Mier EA, Snead ML, Nguyen L, Urano F, Bartlett JD. Fluoride induces endoplasmic reticulum stress in ameloblasts responsible for dental enamel formation. J Biol Chem 2005 Jun 17;280(24):23194-202.

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