With the federal Department of Human and Health Services recent recommendation to lower the level of fluoride in drinking water, the debate about whether fluoride should be added to drinking water at all is replenished.
Is the government controlling us or, as stated in the film Dr. Strangelove, controlling “our precious bodily fluids,” by putting fluoride in our drinking water? In the 1950s and 60s, the John Birch Society shouted yes—that fluoridation of water was evidence of Communist control. Would you be surprised if we said this was relevant again? Well, not the Communist part, but the Department of Health and Human Services did just recommend a lower level of fluoride in drinking water—the first time it’s done so in 50 years. Studies now show that people are getting more fluoride than they need because of toothpaste, mouthwash, and brushing three times a day. While fluoride has brought down cavity levels immensely since it was put into our water, studies now also relate it to increased spotting and streaking on children and adolescents’ teeth, brittle bones, thyroid damage, and increased risk of bone cancer. There’s still debate on the topic—with some thinking the limit should remain as is, some thinking the limit should be decreased, some thinking there should be no fluoride in our water, and some thinking there shouldn’t even be fluoride in toothpaste! Do you appreciate the favor of fluoridation of your water from your government?
Bob Block, MD, FAAP, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma; President-Elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics
David C. Kennedy, DDS, Fluoride Information Officer and Past President of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology