In school we learned that water fluoridation was the second most successful public health program implemented in Canada (the first being vaccines if I am remembering correctly). I had one teacher who did not think it was so great but declined to really discuss it. So I graduated thinking fluoride is great, and water fluoridation is necessary, in fact the only thing standing between us and a mouth full of tooth decay.
I pretty much felt this way even as I had clients who refused the fluoride treatment, saying fluoride was a toxic substance and they wanted no part of it. I would try to convince them they were wrong, but to no avail. One client referred me to the website www.fluoridealert.org , which I looked at but I thought it sounded too out there, the working of conspiracy theorists and crazy people.
After a couple of years as a dental hygienist I became more interested in the Holistic Approach to dentistry, and started reading lots of books on this subject (that might be another blog entry). I came across a book call “the Fluoride Deception”. This book also sounds like the makings of conspiracy theorists, and honestly I did not know what to think after reading it. I was a dental hygienist in turmoil! I was reluctant to go against the conventional wisdom I had learned in school, but the book had too many points to just ignore. (I went through a similar process in my previous career as a vet tech coming to the realization that we really over vaccinate our pets, but that is a whole other topic I am not even going to touch right nowJ)
As fate would have it, I received in the mail a pamphlet for continuing education seminars that included one on fluoride. I felt I had spent so much time reading anti-fluoridation literature that it was time to go to a professional seminar and hear what they had to say. I was totally expecting a pro fluoride lecture, and I went with some key questions I was determined to ask so I could find out the truth about the matter. I was totally taken aback when the lecturer (Dr. Hardy Limeback, a dentist who has had a long and prominent career in dentistry) pretty much confirmed everything I was thinking about fluoride, along with some new points I had never specifically thought about that solidified my feelings about fluoride and water fluoridation. You can read an article summarizing his beliefs here: www.fluoridealert.org/articles/limeback/
There are many groups that are fighting to remove the fluoride from our water. As mentioned before most of Europe has banned water fluoridation and many cities in Canada and the States have been successful at stopping fluoridation in their city. The Region of Peel (where I live) still fluoridates. Just last year in April city councillors voted to keep it in our water. To me it just seems like a pig-headedness refusal to admit they might be wrong. I hope as more citizens speak up they will have no choice but to listen.
While I still think fluoride has a role in our overall dental health, it is not the end all and be all to cavity prevention. I now believe that the movement to fluoridate our water was motivated by political factors and not because it was really believed to improve our dental health. Stay tuned for next time I will fill you in on the specific things I learned that may help you decide for yourself what side you are on.