Water Fluoridation: Facts & Fallacies
BY HUW GRIFFITHS
Water fluoridation has been around for just over 60 years and whilst the practice has become widespread, particularly in Western nations, it’s always been a controversial and often passionately argued one.
My formative moment in the fluoride ‘debate’, one that cathartically shunted me into the anti-fluoride lobby’s arms, came many years ago when I was sitting in a dentist’s chair in Cambridge, UK.
I knew very little about fluoride at the time, so it was with an open mind and calm disposition that I opened my mouth in order for my dentist to pour in some fluoride solution which he said would give my teeth a strong protective coating. The problems started immediately after having dispensed the liquid into my mouth when he stammered, “…but don’t whatever you do swallow it!” “Why?” I gurgled, “Because it’s poisonous and could kill you,” came his reply.
The swill, which was supposed to have lasted about one minute actually lasted about 10 seconds and ended up all over my lap and the surgery floor. The incident was funny. We laughed about it at the time, but I had learned something new and very disturbing about fluoride that has remained with me. It matured into an understanding and appreciation of matters concerning fluoride that, whether you have any concerns about ingesting this chemical or not, I feel compelled to share with you.
The pro-fluoridation lobby, notably the dental and medical associations in several countries, together with armies of practitioners tethered to them, will tell you that fluoride is a naturally occurring substance,1 that it is safe and effective at preventing tooth decay when used in designated dosages, and that its use is strongly supported by credible scientific evidence. It has, they say, improved the quality of life and well being of millions of people around the world for decades.
They will also say that because it is generally added to water supplies at less than 1 part per million, that it is extremely safe, but that ‘if’ young children get too much fluoride they may develop a condition called dental fluorosis which is mostly detectable by dentists and involves a mild discolouration of teeth enamel. All sounds pretty harmless and reassuring don’t you think?
However, if you were to take a quick peek at even a small amount of the arguments that are levied against the use of fluoride by the anti-fluoride lobbyists, you might be in for a nasty, albeit rather compelling, surprise.
Let me just pick off a few of them and in no particular order.
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