There aren’t too many debatable public health topics when it comes to dentistry. Few people will argue that toothpaste or flossing is bad for you, or that cavities are good. However, many people are unaware that the act of fluoridating public water supplies is a hot topic to many, but why the controversy?
Dental caries, the slow process of tooth decay by the acids plaque produces which leach minerals, has been an issue for mankind since we’ve had teeth. Saliva has a remineralizing effect, but the process is slow in providing any benefits as it’s competing against the acids being produced in your mouth. Fluoride put in water aids in remineralization, helping maintain proper dental health. Fluoride once ingested can also provide benefits to bones as well.
The practice of fluoridating water began in Grand Rapids, Michigan in January of 1945. According to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), in 2002 almost 60 percent of Americans receive fluoridated water. Of those Americans receiving their water by public water utilities, over 72 percent are receiving water with augmented fluoride levels.
However, those against fluoridation of water make several arguments against the practice. Many argue it constitutes a form of mass medication carried out without the consent of the people. Others also claim that it contributes to dental fluorosis, a condition seen with children who have ingested large amounts of fluoride at a young age. As a result white spots might show up on the surface of one’s tooth. Fluoridated waters can contribute to dental fluorosis. If you look online, you may also find other myths or rumors that claim fluoridated water causes cancer, or some other condition or disease.
However, the CDC hails fluoridated water as one of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th century. Studies by various academic and government bodies ranging from the CDC, World Health Organization, to a multitude of universities have found no links between fluoridated water and cancer or any other disease. The practice of fluoridating water supplies continues to be endorsed by professional associations today as well, such as the American Dental Association and American Medical Association.
If you have concern over fluoride consumption and your oral health, contact the experts at Lifetime Smiles today for a free consultation.