Two decades or so ago, adding fluoride to a municipal water supply was seen as one of the most important and essential thing a municipality could do for their citizenry – but today, nothing could be further from the truth.
For one reason or another (and researchers are still trying to uncover why, exactly), a number of municipalities in Canada and the United States have taken action to eliminate adding fluoride to their municipal water. The reasoning provided is that actual process of adding fluoride to water is somehow dangerous, something that hasn’t been corroborated by any independent accredited source in either of these two countries.
When pressed, most municipalities that have decided to abandon the fluoridation of their water supply report that they do so because they learned that fluoride in water is dangerous – but none of them can point to any research proving this hypothesis outside of some dubiously conceived of articles shared virally on the web.
Amazingly, some municipalities continue to stop fluoridation of their water even in the face of research that proves just how important fluoride in a municipal water supply is. Dental professionals, researchers, and even some select municipalities have published papers and given presentations on the importance and the positive impact of fluoridation of water and yet still some persist with believing the opposite to be true.
Is the fluoridation of municipal water supplies still important today?
A number of control studies in Canada and the United States were conducted about five years ago, all with an idea of really understanding what kind of impact the fluoridation of municipal water supplies had on overall teeth health and dental hygiene – and the numbers and results are staggering.
According to the research (conducted during a joint program of the Canadian Dental Association and the American Dental Association), cities and municipalities that stopped adding fluoride to their water saw a dramatic increase in dental cavities, particularly in children and teenagers.
These rates were astronomical and really shine a light on just how important it is to have fluoridation of water in any major municipality that can support it. Fluoride is a powerful protector of enamel in teeth, particularly for those that are young and are still developing their own enamel layers – young children and teenagers that are at the highest risk of tooth decay and cavities when fluoride isn’t present.
You see, the enamel on our teeth is essentially made up of hardened little crystals that can be dissolved in acids rather effectively. When bacteria on our teeth (and there are always bacteria on our chief) are feeding on sugar from the foods we eat, they secrete and produce acid that can burn holes in our teeth and eventually create cavities that can relieve wreak havoc and do damage to our smile.
By adding fluoride to municipal water supplies and consuming that municipal water on a regular basis, the fluoride is incorporated into the crystals of our enamel and it produces a much more durable and resistant finish. This is especially important with our young people who have soft enamel as it is, as the fluoride comes in and acts as a big buffer zone against acid produced by the bacteria in our models.
The argument against the fluoridation of our water supplies is that toothpaste today has so much fluoride in it that any extra is almost a waste, but that assumes that our young people – and adults, too – are brushing their teeth as often and as regularly as they no doubt should be.
I think we all know that isn’t always the case.
The fluoridation of municipal water supplies is not, and will never be, dangerous
Another unfounded argument against the fluoridation of our municipal water supplies is that fluoride somehow causes damage to the rest of our body, our critical organs, and can somehow negatively impact our overall health and well-being.
Research report after research report shows that nothing could be further from the truth, and that fluoride isn’t dangerous unless it is consumed in ridiculously high amounts – which could never happen when it is safely added to a municipal water supply.
The amount of fluoride necessary to consume to become poisonous would be almost astronomical, and when it is added to a municipal supply of water we’re talking about one part of fluoride per million parts of water. The dilution eliminates all risk of poisoning completely.
At the end of the day, many of the over-the-counter medicines and foods that we consume on a regular basis are equally as poisonous as fluoride in the same large quantities. We’re talking about Tylenol, penicillin, salt, and (get this) water itself!
It’s important to fight for the fluoridation of our municipal water supplies to provide our young people, our teenagers, and our adult citizens with the best possible protection against cavities and tooth decay.