Fluoridation – the practice of adding fluoride to drinking water – is highly controversial. According to the Fluoride Action Network, the United States currently adds fluoride to over 70% of the drinking water it supplies its citizens, which results in more people in America drinking fluoridated water than the rest of the world combined. The majority of first world countries do not add fluoride to their drinking water, and yet the dental health of these populations is in no way compromised.
New Fluoridation Data Released by WHO
Data released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on tooth decay rates of 12 year old children in developed countries provide strong evidence that fluoridation is not necessary. These statistics clearly illustrate that many countries that do not fluoridate their water at all have less incidence of tooth decay than countries that add fluoride to more than 60% of their water supply. As there is no noticeable difference in the rate of tooth decay between developed countries that add fluoride to drinking water and those that don't, this begs the question: Is fluoridation necessary?
World Health Organization Data: DMFT (Decayed, Missing & Filled Teeth) Status for 12 Year Olds By Country
|Denmark||0.7||2008||No water fluoridation.No salt fluoridation.|
|Germany||0.7||2005||No water fluoridation.67% salt fluoridation.|
|England||0.7||2009||11% water fluoridation.No salt fluoridation.|
|Netherlands*||0.8||2002||No water fluoridation.No salt fluoridation.|
|Switzerland**||0.82||2009||No water fluoridation.88% salt fluoridation.|
|Belgium||0.9||2009-10||No water fluoridation.No salt fluoridation.|
|Sweden||0.9||2008||No water fluoridation.No salt fluoridation.|
|Australia||1.0||2003-2004||80% water fluoridation.No salt fluoridation.|
6% salt fluoridation.
|Ireland||1.1||2002||100% water fluoridation in study.No salt fluoridation.|
|Italy||1.1||2004||No water fluoridation.No salt fluoridation.|
|United States||1.19||1999-2004||64% water fluoridation.No salt fluoridation.|
|Finland||1.2||2006||No water fluoridation.No salt fluoridation.|
|France||1.2||2006||No water fluoridation.65% salt fluoridation.|
|Spain||1.3||2004||11% water fluoridation.10% salt fluoridation.|
|Greece||1.35||2005-06||No water fluoridation.No salt fluoridation.|
|Iceland||1.4||2005||No water fluoridation.No salt fluoridation.|
|New Zealand||1.4||2009||61% water fluoridation.No salt fluoridation.|
|Japan||1.7||2005||No water fluoridation.No salt fluoridation.|
|Norway||1.7||2004||No water fluoridation.No salt fluoridation.|
|* The Hague | ** Zurich|
|Tooth Decay data from:|
Salt fluoridation data from:
Is Fluoridate Necessary?
Fluoride is added to toothpaste to prevent dental cavities. Consequently, children in developed countries already receive fluoride in toothpaste – in fact many children actually far exceed the recommended daily intake of fluoride from this source alone. Fluoride in drinking water only adds to the amount of fluoride they are consuming – mostly without their knowledge or their parent's consent. According to the Fluoride Action Network, there is enough fluoride in half a tube of children's toothpaste to kill a young child. In 2009, US poison control centers received more than 24,500 calls related to swallowing fluoride toothpaste.The benefits that fluoride offers in preventing tooth decay is provided by topical contact with teeth and not from any nutritional benefits that it provides. Therefore it's logical to assume that one not need to swallow toothpaste or drink water containing fluoride to receive these benefits.
Health Effects of Fluoride
When fluoride is consumed in excess it has toxic effects on the body; it can cause dental fluorosis (tooth discoloration), skeletal fluorosis (bone disease) and has been linked to bone cancer in teenage boys. Patients with impaired kidney function are particularly at risk of skeletal fluorosis – fluoridated water was responsible for causing bone disease in patients undergoing dialysis treatment until kidney dialysis units routinely implemented water filtration systems to filter fluoride from the drinking water provided to their patients.
Is Fluoridation Simply Unmonitored Mass Medication?
Because fluoride is added to drinking water as a preventative health measure rather than to treat the water, it is considered a drug. This is of particular concern, as once fluoride is added to drinking water, it is not monitored. There is no control over who receives this medication, or the dose they receive, and no way to monitor the effects on human health. Young children, elderly citizens, and those with compromised health receive the same dose as healthy adults, and if they drink excessive amounts of water, this may be higher still.
For those interested, Big Berkey Water Filters has add-on fluoride filters that go in the lower chamber of the system and will reduce fluoride in the water up to 99.75%. The problems associated with fluoridation of drinking water are covered in detail in the documentary film ''An Inconvenient Tooth'' released in September, 2012.