Adding fluoride to community drinking supplies has always been a hot topic. Many experts argue that the addition of fluoride has a public health benefit. Others believe differently, and some opponents even claim conspiracy. While everyone is entitled to their beliefs, Delta Dental of Colorado agrees with the Centers for Disease Control when they named community fluoridated drinking water as 1 of the top 10 Public Health Achievement.
What many Coloradoans don’t know is the research on fluoride’s effect on teeth began right here in our own state. A dentist practicing in Colorado Springs named Dr. McKay discovered that children who drank water from a source with unusually high levels of fluoride had teeth that were inexplicably resistant to tooth decay. The rest is history!
Now, there is a lot of misleading information being spread about community fluoridation. To put our reader’s worries to rest, we have addressed the top 3 myths about fluoride.
Myth: “Fluoride is a poison that doesn’t belong in drinking water.”
Fluoride exists naturally in virtually all water supplies and even in various brands of bottled water. If the people making this outrageous statement truly believed it, they would no longer drink water — or eat fish, eggs, meat or other food products that contain small levels of fluoride1. To put this myth into perspective, a 30-pound child would have to ingest an entire six-ounce tube to be in any trouble, according to the Poison Center2. Even then, this child would vomit the toothpaste before any real harm would be done.
Myth: Fluoride causes bone cancer and lots of other major health problems.
This myth is more of a scare tactic than anything else. There have been no conclusive or accepted evidence to suggest that the fluoride level added to community water supplies cause any major health problems.
Myth: I heard that the EPA is reviewing the maximum fluoride level because fluoride can cause a condition called ‘fluorosis.’ That’s reason enough to oppose fluoridated water.
Dental fluorosis is a rare cosmetic condition that can leave a minor discoloration of teeth that is usually detectable only by a dentist. Adults are not at risk for fluorosis as it only affects children who are waiting for their second teeth to come in. The chance of fluorosis occurring, which has always been relatively small, will decrease, thanks to new federal recommendations that revise the optimal fluoride level in drinking water3. Federal health official are consistently reviewing the subject of community water fluoridation and update their recommendations when appropriate.
We hope that we were able to correct some fictional information that is being spread. Community fluoridation helps everyone. It does not discriminate and that is why we will continue to support this initiative.
What are your thoughts?
1. Ernie Mueller is a former research chemist with the Environmental Protection Agency who also served as Alaska’s Commissioner of Environmental Conservation. See: Ernie Mueller, “Some fluoride opponents are making misleading statements,” The Juneau Empire, April 6, 2004, accessed on January 20, 2011 at http://www.juneauempire.com/stories/040604/opi_fluoride.shtml.
2. “Milwaukee Alderman Says Fluoride in Toothpaste Is a Poison.” PolitiFact Wisconsin. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2012.
II, Thomas H. Maugh. “HHS and EPA Will Recommend Lower Fluoride Levels in Water Supply.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 07 Jan. 2011. Web. 13 Sept. 2012.
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