I previously mentioned how if there’s one thing I’ve come to realise from this campaign so far, it’s how much misinformation is out there. And, by far, the biggest culprit is fluoride. It’s next to impossible to venture into any kind of online discussion about the merits of bottled and tap and not have the topic of fluoridation cause some kind of squabble or all out war in the comments section.
So, in a move some will call brave and others foolhardy and arrogant, I’m going to try and dispel some of the myths regarding fluoride and tell you everything you need to know.Shall we begin?
First things first. What is water fluoridation? Simply put, water fluoridation is the process of adding fluoride – a naturally occurring compound that is abundant in the rocks, soil, salt and the sea of the earth – to water. Why? Because fluoride helps in the remineralisation of demineralised tooth enamel. Demineralisation of tooth enamel leads to tooth decay. Which is of course, not fun.
So now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, let’s tackle some of the questions you may have.
Is it safe?
Yes. Fluoride is added to the water supply in only very small amounts. 1 milligram per litre, here in NSW to be precise; the recommended level. Levels will vary from location to location but it’s safe, healthy and effective and is backed by decades of research, studies and experience.
Can we have too much fluoride?
The old idiom that you can have too much of a good thing is once again true here. Dental fluorosis (the discolouration of the teeth) and skeletal fluorosis (a bone disease causing hardened bones and increased fractures) are potential effects. However, fluoride levels in our water supply are carefully monitored and comply to safe levels.
What has it done for dental health?
Dental decay is one of the most common health issues in Australia and is the highest cause of preventable hospital admissions. Since the introduction of fluoridation in Australia, we have seen dramatic declines in dental caries. This is supported by countless before and after studies and surveys. Just recently the University of Calgary suggested that dental issues had spiked in Calgary children after the removal of fluoride from their water.
Can fluoride be added to another source?
Fluoride is sometimes added as a supplement to salt or milk, where the water supply isn’t ideal. While there were reductions in tooth decay, the results are far less impressive than what we see in water.
Will I get cancer from drinking fluoridated water?
There is little compelling evidence of any effect of fluoride causing cancer when consumed at recommended intake levels.
Will it make me an idiot?
No. Studies that have claimed such findings have been quickly dismissed due to serious deficiencies in the research; small sample sizes, non-standard measuring etc. Any studies that did suggest a link between fluoride and intelligence only occurred in fluoride consumption far higher than what we experience here in Australia.
Does it harm the thyroid gland?
Once again there is next to no convincing evidence to suggest any adverse effects on the thyroid gland when consumed at the recommended levels.
Is it a communist plot?
Hopefully, this little piece has answered some of the questions you may have had regarding fluoride. If we haven’t covered anything and you’re still curious, be sure to leave a comment below and we’ll be sure to give you an answer.
Otherwise, what are you waiting for? Get to that tap!
#backtothetap #betterthanbottled #choosetap #notacommunistplot #fluoride
Image credit: Columbia Pictures