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To Fluoridate or Not To Fluoridate – Is There A Question?

Is This Water Helping or Hurting You?

 

Today was a pretty slow day at the office, so I spent a lot of time surfing the net.  I pulled up the local newspaper’s site and noticed that the Phoenix city council has decided to take up the issue of water fluoridation – and I was worried I wouldn’t have enough to blog about this week.

OK, the Libertarian tendencies in me say the government shouldn’t be messing with our water.  But, the dentist in me knows how much the fluoridated water has helped.  During my pediatric dentistry rotation, I treated some kids raised on well water without natural or added fluoride.  They had markedly more decay than the children raised on fluoridated water.  We would all pass around their x-rays amazed at how much work was going to need to be done on such a little kid.  So, I guess I’m a little torn on this issue.   Did you know that dental decay is the most common chronic infectious disease in children (www.cdc.gov)?  Left untreated, the infection can spread through the jaw and in severe cases cause death.  Don’t forget those teeth are in your head – the same head that encases your brain.

Early opponents of water fluoridation held the stellar argument that the government adding things to the water was a communist plot.  Current opponents feel that fluoride in the water is causing muscle pain, thyroid issues and can cause discoloration of teeth and damage to the bones.   It seems that certain members of the Phoenix city council feel adding fluoride to city water could be a waste of money (www.azcentral.com).

So, here is how I see things as of now:

1.  As far as I can tell, these anti-fluoride claims haven’t been substantiated by hard science.  I’ve been on their websites and just because they quote a study, doesn’t mean it was a peer reviewed solid study.  There is a lot of junk science out there and people can manipulate statistics for their own benefit.

2.  They also claim fluoride “overdoses” cause these problems.  If the city council really wants to do something, maybe they should consider more tight regulations on managing fluoride levels rather than eliminating it all together.

3.  Phoenix currently spends $.39 per person on fluoridating water (www.azcentral.com).  City councilman Tom Simplot stated that this could be saved because most people drink bottled water anyways.  Seriously?  I would bet that over time AHCCCS (Arizona’s Medicaid) costs would inflate to cover all of the increased dental needs if the city water doesn’t contain fluoride.  I also believe it is unrealistic to think that every mother will be proactive in obtaining fluoride supplements for their children as their teeth develop if the water supply doesn’t contain fluoride.

4.  If you really don’t want to drink fluoridated water – get a filter.  They are inexpensive and remove the fluoride effectively.

I welcome your comments or concerns, but please maintain a respectful tone.  Thanks

 

3 Responses to “To Fluoridate or Not To Fluoridate – Is There A Question?”

  1. Danielle says:

    I thought everyone drank bottled water anyway? I guess most bottled is just filtered from a municipal site. I say GO FLUORIDE! Also, why do elected officials waste so much time on these sorts of things? Was that respectful enough? 😉

  2. lisa says:

    I agree, The cost of adding flouride to water is minimal when you consider the cost of the long term effects when folks don’t get this. Also keeping in mind the current economy. Dental care seems to be one of the first things cut from a family budget unfortunately.

  3. I need to to thank you for this fantastic read!!
    I certainly loved every bit of it. I have you bookmarked
    to check out new things you post…

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