The Fluoride Debate

A growing number of towns are choosing to stop adding fluoride to their water systems—although studies have found doing so provides a 25 percent reduction in tooth decay nationwide.

The 200 areas from Georgia to Alaska that have chosen to end adding fluoride say its based on budgets (for one county the cost is about $205,000 per year) and a lack of hard evidence about its benefits.

According to the New York Times: “The United States Public Health Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that the communities that stop adding fluoride to the water supply are misguided. The government continues to recommend the practice, which began in the 1940s. Some 72 percent of the population in the country drinks water with added fluoride.”

Advocates for ending fluoride say excessive amounts are linked to dental fluorosis, which causes a cosmetic problem of white or yellow spots on the teeth. Some critics say the spots could also be a warning that other bones in the body are getting too much fluoride which could be linked to an increase in bone fractures in adults.

 

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