For the sake of transparency, I should make it clear that I am not a doctor or dentist. I have no academic medical training or anything; I’m just a guy who’s done a lot of research on dentistry and oral health as part of his job (design and construction of dental offices).
I decided to weigh in on this issue after encountering an acquaintance’s tirade against the fluoridation of drinking water. This acquaintance insisted that fluoride was a dangerous poison introduced into the government water supply by the government.
He further insisted that to remain healthy, everyone should drink bottled water to avoid fluoridated tap water, use toothpaste that has no fluoride in it, and go with brewed tea.
After these warnings, my acquaintance posted a couple of links. One of the links led to an anti-fluoride conspiracy site, which was not really any help at all, and the other led to a synopsis of a study done by Harvard University.
According to the description of this study, children who lived in areas with a higher occurrence of fluoride in the water had a lower IQ than children in low-fluoride areas.
The Fluoride Conspiracy
I was surprised to see a study like that because based on all the research I’d done, all legitimate scientific experimentation on the subject consistently showed fluoride in the drinking water was perfectly safe and great for teeth. Plus, it was hard to pin the anti-fluoride crowd down on what damage fluoride did to people and why the government wanted to cause that damage.
Back in the 1940s and ‘50s, the anti-fluoride proponents insisted that fluoride was being introduced into the water supply by Communists to poison the country.
If fluoride was poisonous, that makes some kind of sense – the Commies wanted to get us, so they insidiously poisoned our water. However, when the Evil Empire collapsed and fluoridation continued, the conspiracy gets weirder – the enemy became our government rather than theirs.
The problem is that our own government poisoning its citizenry doesn’t make a ton of sense. Poisoning everyone would weaken the population and therefore the country itself, it’d make our infrastructure less stable, we’d be less productive economically, we’d become more vulnerable militarily, etc. So the conspiracy claim changed to assert that the poisoning is meant to make us more passive and compliant so it’s easier to rule us without trouble.
That’s the best explanation you’ll get. A lot of the anti-fluoridation community doesn’t really give specifics about the nature of the poisoning or its cause: the government is poisoning us and they’re doing so for the sake of evil.
I’ve always been pleased that the tap water here in Cedar Rapids, IA is fluoridated, and so far I haven’t been enfeebled or turned into a mindless drone.
Anyway, apart from the actual, legitimate science that’s been done on the harm of fluoride consumption, there’s a good way to determine whether or not people are being poisoned or turned into complacent sheep.
Twenty-nine of the country’s largest 30 cities have fluoridation, with Portland, Oregon as the notable exception. If people were being dumbed down or damaged by fluoride, Portland and every other fluoride-free community in the country should be the picture of health, vitality, and free-thinking, at least in comparison to the fluoride-receiving populations. That’s not the case.
With this understanding, I looked into the Harvard study about children having lower IQs with a higher fluoride intake.
Well, it turns out that the anti-fluoride posse had misrepresented that study a little bit. OK, a lot. The study does indeed show that children who get higher concentrations of fluoride suffer both physically and mentally from it.
Well, the fluoridation levels in the tap water here must vary a little bit! Are the kids in areas with slightly higher levels being hurt and sabotaged?!
Actually, no, it’s not really scary. We’re not talking about variations in the level of fluoride in different American cities or even the difference between the level of fluoride in drinking water versus fluoride-free water.
The children in the study were exposed to huge concentrations of fluoride, mega-doses that leached into wells from contaminated soil. Those kids were getting 20 to 30 times the dose of fluoride that’s found in tap water.
And yeah, getting massive doses of virtually any chemical (or substance in general), even the healthiest ones, is going to be unhealthy! People die from drinking too much water in one sitting – water intoxication.
So, if you’re worried about fluoride in our water or toothpaste or food or whatever else, don’t be. Unless you somehow find a way to take incredibly large doses of fluoride, all it’s gonna do is make your teeth stronger.
And that’s my two cents! Be healthy.