I always try to see both sides of an issue and understand where folks are coming from, but I am struggling on fluoride and I think some people here might help, especially since fluoridated water is not commonplace in other parts of the world
For those that don’t know, in the US we do not usually fluoridate our salt, but instead, fluoridate our municipal water supplies and sometimes fluoride treatments for kids in school or dental settings.
I live in a state that is 80% un-fluoridated in its water supply, and incidentally, and we have a huge issue with dental disease. Over half of Oregon children have already had cavities by the age of 8, and emergency dental care outstrips all other diseases as a cause of youth ER hospitalization on our state low-income health plan. We were supposed to get fluoride in our water supply in 2014, but the vote to do it tore apart our city and ended friendships. Fluoride lost.
Reasons I see against fluoridated water supply:
- places undue burden on folks who cannot consume fluoride internally due to medical issues to filter their tap water
- requires municipal water supplies to regulate fluoridation to make sure it does not exceed healthy levels
- increases the urban/rural health divide for those that use wells and other non-municipal water systems as they still won’t be receiving fluoride
Reasons I see for it:
- exposure to fluoride has demonstrably better outcomes for oral health, which has an impact on every other body system
- fluoridated water is “easy” - water is generally good for you, salt can be a problem at high levels (fluoridated salt is normal in much of the world)
- does not put as much emphasis on fluoride-in-schools, which adds yet more work to teachers’ plates, and is more likely to not get done in low-income schools (and thus increasing systemic class and race differences in access to oral health care)
- umm…improve oral health care metrics? like, a lot?