Friday, January 22, 2010

Brushing up on Fluoride

Here’s another modern dilemma – can we really believe what seems to be overwhelming scientific evidence that something is good for us, or should we question the studies that seem to prove the benefits of certain chemicals or medications because those benefits are directly linked to the profits of big business?

Fluoride has been bothering me for a while. I grew up, as I’m sure most Americans have, believing fluoride was good for my teeth. It’s in toothpaste or course. Sometimes it’s in mouthwash, it’s definitely in all the stuff the dentist wants to slather on my teeth, and it can even be found in some municipal water supplies. Fluoride prevents cavities. That’s what the studies show, and according to the Fluoride organization, it’s natural and perfectly safe.

That should be the end of the argument, right? Especially since any dentist will back this all up.
But what about the people who are rallying against fluoride? Here’s just a sampling:

Schachter Center for Complimentary Medicine

Fluoride dangers

According to articles posted on these sites and countless others, fluoride is a poison that can cause all manner of health problems. The danger seems to be in ingesting fluoride more so than simply putting in on the teeth, so while fluoride in your toothpaste might not be so bad, if you’re drinking it, or worse if you’re taking it in pill form, you may be doing yourself more harm than good.

My question is, why would so many different sources be so vocal about the dangers of fluoride if it wasn’t true? What do these sources have to gain by stopping people from using fluoride? Is it just an underlying distrust of the government or is there something to all these reports?

On the flipside, why do doctors and dentists seem to swear by fluoride as a prevention for tooth decay if it really doesn’t work? Aren’t they the ones who have first hand scientific knowledge?
What do you think about fluoride? Is all the hype just hype, or are we supposed to remain blissfully ignorant to another health hazard that’s literally right under our noses?


  1. Well I grew up with flouride and I've never had a cavity so I tend to believe it's useful. (DH grew up without it and has a mouth full of fillings -- which are dangerous in their own way.) BUT I also grew up in a house where soda wasn't allowed and you only got to eat a piece of candy on Halloween, Xmas, and Easter, so my sugar intake was always low.

  2. I don't think we have fluoridated water in this town, but I've always been an avid tooth brusher. I was a soda drinker and loved candy and have had only two cavaties. I've always wondered if cavity resistent teeth could be a function of genetics as well as dental care. Some people can avoid them regardless of diet and others can't no matter how careful they are?