Top 10 Reasons to Support Water Fluoridation

Top 10 Reasons to Support Water Fluoridation

11
10 Reasons to Oppose Water Fluoridation
©Dmitry Naumov/Shutterstock.com

You’re either with us, or against us” has been a popular quotation throughout history.  I think that phrase describes the water fluoridation debate fairly well.  There are many people against fluoride being added to their water, and many people that support the addition of fluoride to the public water supplies.

Reasons to Support Water FluoridationI’ve felt caught in the middle.  In my dental school we are bombarded with presentations on the benefits of water fluoridation and much of academia doesn’t seem to acknowledge that there are good arguments on both sides of the water fluoridation debate.

Today and tomorrow I’m going to try to give the best arguments for and against water fluoridation so that you can be more informed and decide which side you fit with.  Or, maybe this balanced view will leave you feeling much like me — stuck in the middle.

Top 10 Reasons to Support Water Fluoridation

1 – Water Fluoridation Saves Teeth

Water fluoridation prevents cavities — obviously, this is the main reason why fluoride is added to public water supplies.  Systematic reviews are considered near the top when it comes to reliable evidence because they comb through all of the studies on a certain topic, weed out the unreliable studies, and publish the combined results of the best studies.

In 2000, the British Medical Journal published a systematic review on the effectiveness of water fluoridation at reducing cavities.  The following sentence comes from their results:

“Water fluoridation was associated with an increased proportion of children without caries and a reduction in the number of teeth affected by caries.”

When cavities are prevented, teeth last longer.

2 – Water Fluoridation Strengthens Teeth

By drinking fluoridated water, you can incorporate fluoride into the enamel of your teeth.  When fluoride is present in your teeth, it makes them more resistant to being dissolved by acid.

Learn more about the three ways fluoride strengthens your teeth.

3 – Water Fluoridation Is Accessible to Everyone

Many people can’t afford to routinely go to the dentist for a checkup and cleaning — water fluoridation allows them to improve their oral health free of charge.  Fluoridated water helps both rich and poor alike.

4 – Water Fluoridation Saves Everybody Money

Unlike many public health measures, water fluoridation ends up saving money.  It can save individuals money by preventing cavities which allows you to avoid paying a dentist for a filling.  On a national level, it can save taxpayer dollars by preventing cavities in those who are insured by programs such as Medicaid.

The CDC has estimated that for every dollar invested in water fluoridation in communities of over 20,000 people, $38 in dental care is avoided.

5 – Water fluoridation Is Natural

Fluoride is naturally found in the water supply. Here’s a world map that shows where the water is naturally fluoridated at 1.5 PPM or above. Opponents of water fluoridation may argue that since water is fluoridated with a different type of fluoride, it’s hazardous. You can read more about that below.

Find out now: Is water fluoridated with toxic waste?

6 – The Fluoride Concentration Used In Public Water Supplies is Safe

Many opponents of water fluoridation claim that since fluoride is toxic in large quantities, we shouldn’t be adding poison to our water supply.  I would argue that most anything is toxic in excessive amounts.  Even water can kill you if you drink too much too quickly.  In small concentrations, fluoride is beneficial.

The Environmental Protection Agency sets maximum acceptable limits for many different substances that are in the water supply.  They have set the maximum limit for fluoride at 4.0 PPM.  A majority of fluoridated water contains fluoride at a concentration of 1.0 PPM.  That’s only ¼ of the allowable level.

7 – Water Fluoridation is Easy to Utilize

All you have to do is drink water and your teeth get the benefits of fluoride.  Since many people drink water when they’re thirsty, they can get the benefits of fluoride without even thinking about it.  People are more likely to drink water than they would be to rinse with a fluoride rinse every day.

8 – Water Fluoridation is Cheap

This study determined that depending on the community size and method of calculation used, water fluoridation costs between $0.46 and $3.44 per person every year.

That’s not much money considering that a filling can cost over $100 and a tooth that needs a root canal and crown can cost well over $1,000 to restore.

9 – Water Fluoridation Benefits Everyone

Even people who don’t live in areas with fluoridated water consume food products that were packaged in areas with fluoridated water.  By consuming foods and drinks processed in areas with water fluoridation, they can obtain the benefits of water fluoridation.

This is has sometimes been called the fluoridation halo effect and can be likened to the benefits of herd immunity that occurs with vaccinations.

10 – Water Fluoridation is Recognized As One of the Great Public Health Achievements of the 20th Century

The CDC included water fluoridation on their list of ten great public health achievements between 1900 and 1999.  The CDC has this to say about the impact of water fluoridation:

“Fluoridation of drinking water began in 1945 and in 1999 reaches an estimated 144 million persons in the United States. Fluoridation safely and inexpensively benefits both children and adults by effectively preventing tooth decay, regardless of socioeconomic status or access to care. Fluoridation has played an important role in the reductions in tooth decay (40%-70% in children) and of tooth loss in adults (40%-60%.)”

Pro Water Fluoridation Resources

If you want to learn more about the benefits of water fluoridation, here’s two great PDF brochures from the ADA and CDC and another helpful webpage.

What’s Your Take?

I’d love to hear what you think about water fluoridation in the comments section below!

Do you think I left out any important reasons to support water fluoridation?  Do you disagree?

11 COMMENTS

  1. I’m interested in your next article. With all the points above and from what I know, I really don’t see how people can complain about water fluoridation. It helps so many people. Thanks for writing these informational articles.

  2. Hello and Good Day
    I appreciated your dedication to finding the middle path in this issue, it is important to hold both sides accountable to truth, as there is the obvious temptation to distort info for ones own side.
    In pursuit of this worthy goal it would be my honor to attempt to provide some counter arguments for these top ten reasons. In the end who knows who is right, yet it is my goal that by combining our views we may meet somewhere in the middle, a little wiser for the experience.

    As another person interested in this debate I ask to offer several comments on your Top 10 Reasons to Support Water Fluoridation. (based on an effort to present the most balanced view available at this time) Feel free to correct or improve upon these statements if anyone finds errors in them, both logically factually or otherwise.

    Firstly in an effort to be fair, It seems resources should be provided for both sides, not only “Pro Water Fluoridation Resources” …. Just saying

    OK on to the meat and potatoes
    1. This issue is controversial as many claim other factors such as improved nutrition and dental hygiene account for a great deal of the improvement in dental health. An argument which is used to support this is that statistically there has been similar increases in dental health in unfluoridated areas when compared with similar fluoridated areas. Also it is worth mentioning that too much “fluoride” can cause dental fluorosis.

    2. research (Google) effects of dental fluorosis

    3. The fact that fluoridated water is accessible to everyone is actually an issue. Fluoride is one of the more difficult “items” to remove from water, it can only be done through distilling or reverse osmosis. The levels which are “safe” for the majority are not safe for the totality. Babies are recommended not to have formula made with Fluoridated water, (or drink the water) also Diabetics, High water drinking Athletes, those with impaired kidney function, those who drink lots of water or tea, and many people on medications such as prozac and lithium can be much more susceptible to the fluoride.
    Many of these people can not afford to pay for expensive processes to remove the fluoride.
    As a result a significant number of people are exposed to an unsafe level of fluoride in the water.
    Also, as less the 2-4% of “tap water” is actually ingested, we are fluoridating lawns, rivers, and basically our eco systems, which has delicate members who like babies are not equipt to deal with such high levels.

    4. Actually when all the factors are considered who can say if it saves everyone money. After the side effects in the significant number of the population (see #3 and #1) it is quite possible more is spent or should be spent to rectify the side effects than is prevented by a reduction in cavities.
    Those who actually save money are industrial companies (particularly Phosphate fertilizer manufacturing) who are able to sell their waste Hydrofluorosilicic acid through companies like Lucier Chemical Industries (LCI) instead of having to spend millions to dispose of it safely.

    5. In regards to it being natural I think this is miss-leading seeing as the vast majority of cities use compounds such as Hydrofluorosilicic acid to fluoridate. Hydrofluorosilicic acid is not natural, it is only 19% fluoride, the rest of it is assorted toxins such as lead, and arsenic, which are produced when Phosphate fertilizer manufacturing facilities “trap” their pollution. Hydrofluorosilicic acid is more toxic then “natural” fluoride and should not be confused with it.

    6. See the other responses for arguments that it is not safe for everyone. I won’t try and ague this one other than mentioning that “safe” is not the word I would use. The long term effects are what should be looked into. bones, penal gland, brain, IQ, Reproduction ect

    7. agree its easy to utilize, however for many who don’t want it, it is almost impossible not to utilize, Mass medication is considered unethical, On these grounds Sweden actually banned water fluoridation .

    8. I agree it does not take much money to put Hydrofluorosilicic acid in our water. However it would cost much more to dispose of if we didn’t use it for dental hygiene as it is legally considered a pollutant. The non financial costs, also called the total impact are still unknown.

    9. see # 3. Also the fact that it gets into the entire food chain can be looked at several different ways. Also this means that people who consume great deals of this Fluoridated food on top of water or medications could be receiving more than they can handle.

    10. The CDC did in deed declare that. However they are pro fluoride, and so present their side of the picture. literally hundreds of different organizations have declared different things about the effect of fluoride.
    In order to remain balanced it is fair to provide a Con Fluoride view by a similarly respected voice.
    Some quote are below

    “I would advise against fluoridation.. Side-effects cannot be excluded .. In
    Sweden, the emphasis nowadays is to keep the environment as clean as possible with regard to pharmacologically active and, thus, potentially toxic substances.”
    – Dr. Arvid Carlsson, co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine (2000)

    “The American Medical Association is NOT prepared to state that no harm
    will be done to any person by water fluoridation. The AMA has not carried out any research work, either long-term or short-term, regarding the possibility of any side effects.” – Dr. Flanagan, Assistant Director of Environmental Health, American Medical Association. [letter]

    “I am appalled at the prospect of using water as a vehicle for drugs.
    Fluoride is a corrosive poison that will produce serious effects on a
    long range basis. Any attempt to use water this way is deplorable.”
    – Dr. Charles Gordon Heyd, Past President of the American Medical Association.

    “E.P.A. should act immediately to protect the public, not just on the cancer
    data, but on the evidence of bone fractures, arthritis, mutagenicity and other effects.” – Dr. William Marcus, Senior Toxicologist at E.P.A.

    “Water contains a number of substances that are undesirable, and fluorides are just one of them” stated Dr. F. A. Bull, State Dental Director of Wisconsin, speaking at the Fourth Annual Conference of State Dental Directors.

    -quotes from http://www.nofluoride.com/ (a proponent for the opposite view) To find references for the quotes simply go to that sight, they are provided. Also to find references for my points, simply google the key words and names I provided and find them. I apologize for not referencing but I do not have the time, it is 1am, and I have hours of work before I hit the sack.

    Thank you for your time, and your consideration
    May we all find the middle, where ever it may be 🙂

    • Hi Alberto – Thank you for your detailed rebuttal to the points that I made in this article. You’ll probably find yourself agreeing a lot more with the 10 reasons I gave in my article against water fluoridation.

      One thing I do want to talk about is the quotes you shared in #10. I want to point out that those are spoken as the opinions of the individuals and not the whole organizations. For example, the American Medical Association appears be very pro-fluoridation when they state the following on their website: “The AMA urges state health departments to consider the value of required statewide fluoridation (preferably a comprehensive program of fluoridation of all public water supplies, where these are fluoride deficient), and to initiate such action as deemed appropriate.” (Source)

      From what I’ve read, most of the systemic disease you point out don’t occur at the fluoride levels found in fluoridated water.

      Thank you for your comment, I do enjoy discussing the issue of water fluoridation. In one my classes last semester, I took the anti-fluoridation side and debated a fellow dental student.

    • Hey just to clear up a little thing on number 10. I offered a number of quotes. These quotes are from individuals and are not necessarily reflective of the organizations they are affiliated with.

      • (feel free to ignore my previous little reply, this is the response I actually wrote first, just got confused with the posting thing)

        Hi Tom

        I have really enjoyed our entire discussion so far
        You were right, the next day, I saw the 10 reasons not to fluoridate, laughed, smiled, and appreciated the wisdom and maturity of your approach and presentation. Your approach and some other events taught me something valuable about my disability to fully perceive or communicate unbiasedly when ever I am emotionally involved “attached” in an issue or topic. This reveals to me how the world might be seen better through totally accepting eyes. So anyway, thank you

        Thanks for the correction on my communication on number 10. It seems ironic that I noted a case of mis-representation, only to proceed to produce one myself. I appreciate being held accountable. I was aware that the speakers held different views then their organizations when I posted. I was unclear, and irresponsible, yet the point I was attempting to make was that even If Several respected parties/people speak out for fluoride, other “respected” parties/people also speak out against it. That was where I was going, yet I recognize that I failed to get there, partly due to my own immature polarity on this issue, so thanks, I will learn from this.

        As to your second point (From what I’ve read, most of the systemic disease you point out don’t occur at the fluoride levels found in fluoridated water. ) I agree in part. Myself and a number of my friends have dental fluorosis, our city fluoridates (although that might be ending 🙂 “calgary”)

        I appreciate being held accountable for clear communication. When I had a list of side effects its purpose wasn’t so much to say these will happen, as to be resources for people to check out.
        I agree the medical literature has not said that water fluoridation at normal levels causes these symptoms, however to my knowledge the research into the side effects of fluoride are gravely sparse and funded primarily by pro fluoride politics for the most part. I have found a lack of studies about the long term effects of fluoride build up, which has been shown t occur, both in the penal gland, and the bones. Although we may not all be effected the standard dose it seems reasonable that more susceptible people such as those with kidney issues could manifest symptoms of “higher dosages”, especially when combined with other sources of fluoride.

        Also I am suspect hormonal functioning is affected slightly, even at normal levels, however will be quick to admit I have no fully valid cause for this view, its more of a hunch.

        Thank you very much,
        I really enjoy discussing with you,

        Alberto

        • Hi Alberto – Thanks for the insights, they were interesting and enlightening to read. I wouldn’t call it irresponsible at all, those people did say those quotes so you had every right to quote them on it!

          Water fluoridation has been associated with fluorosis, but I think it is only one of many factors. Kids who grow up without fluoridated water can still have fluorosis – it all depends on how much fluoride they ingest and how their bodies react to it.

          I agree that fluoride builds up in the body over time, and although I’m not aware of any adverse effects from this, as you mentioned, this is probably an area that needs further research.

          Reading over your comment made me think of the history of water fluoridation. A lot of the scientific community thought we were “jumping the gun” by adding fluoride to so many communities’ water supplies. Surprisingly, even the American Dental Association was leery of water fluoridation in the early days.

          Here’s a quote published in an editorial found in the Journal of the American Dental Association in October 1944. It stated that the idea of adding fluoride to the water to help reduce dental decay “may appear speculatively attractive, in the light of our present knowledge (or lack of knowledge) of the chemistry of the subject, the potentialities for harm far outweigh those for good.”

          I’ve always found that interesting given the ADA’s strong support of water fluoridation that they currently have.

          Thanks for your comments, Alberto!

  3. ANYONE DELUSIONAL, misinformed enough, or outright criminal enough to support the crazy statements of this article and comments needs serious mental health. Would any of you think that Hitler was good? But Hitler and the nazi’s used flouridated water to dumb down and control their prisoners. Does anyone think Stalin was good. He used it to dumb down and control the masses. The flouride they put in our water are chemical agents that we are forced to pay to have put in our water that rots your brain, proven to lower IQ in children and has a 3 to 5 times increase in Bone cancer, gastrointestinal disorders like Crohns and Ulcerative colitis are sky rocketing and flouride is linked to these types of things. Sodium flouride can even kill you, look at the toothpaste…there is a warning on if it is swallowed in a certain amount. All of you on here advocating flouride are either dumbed down by the flouride yourselves or you are outright criminal and know what your doing. flouride is poison from the fertilizer and aluminum industry and many other chemicals. GET OFF FLOURIDE NOW and if your water has it….either get a petitition going to get rid of it or use filters to get it out. WAKE THE HELL UP.

  4. It all sounds good for the treatment of teeth, however the total dose of a poison as you say will be a determining factor, this total dose is completely unknown even for the water consumer intake of fluoride depends on how many litres are consumed this varies greatly between consumers.
    Total dose must involve amounts of fluoride found in foods derived from soils and agricultural chemicals containing fluoride, this means Cryolite, herbicides, pesticides, fumigants, ending up in food, the USEPA has a data detailing amounts of fluoride found in foods, then there are hundreds of medicines, most anaesthetics, many Chemotherapies, some with high amounts of fluorides.
    Toothpaste has from 1000 ppm fluoride it would be difficult not to absorb some of this fluoride in the mouth into the bloodstream as there are two ways this can happen in the mouth, mouthwash has from 4000ppm fluoride.
    There are other sources of fluoride in industry, the workplace, and the home and as the health limit is generally agreed at 4ppm I would say we are all overdosed with this poison which is one of the most dangerous, it can combine with Aluminium as Alum in water clarification both are known neurotoxins.
    Your question about having missed something I have tried to answer in this short reply aimed at health and not the teeth, based on Total Dose of a category 6-7 poison that has no comprehensive data on TD.

Leave a Reply to Martin Paddington PhD Cancel reply