In parts one and two of “The Many Layers of Fluoride Controversy,” we discussed the ramifications of fluoride use as it pertains to health, environment and finance. In this final piece of our series, we take a look at the most influential voices in the fluoride debate. Thankfully, the tide is slowly beginning to turn when it comes to the dental industry’s position on fluoride in the United States. However, as you will see in this article, there is still a long way to go, and the dental industry is by no means the only group with their hat in the ring on this issue.
So Why is This Topic Still Up For Debate?
With all the information presented thus far, it may be difficult to understand why there is still ongoing debate over fluoride consumption. To find the answer, one need only look to whom has a horse in this race.
When examining the landscape of the fluoride industry, it becomes clear. Because most of the fluoride in our drinking water is essentially industrial runoff, many entities outside of the dental and public health industries have a vested interest in the conversation. If these companies were no longer able to put this industrial byproduct into our water, they would incur significant extra cost in terms of disposal or storage. The main distributors of consumer-grade fluoride are juggernauts of the chemical, agricultural, and metal refining industries. These are powerful and widely influential entities in the arenas of both politics and finance. For instance, the ADA conspicuously began receiving millions of dollars in federal funds shortly after they began ‘towing the company line’ on the issue of fluoridation.
For years now, large amounts of money have been spent in political campaigns trying to preserve or establish fluoridation policies. In 2007 Juneau, AK voted against fluoridation despite the pro-fluoride campaign budget dwarfing that of all other campaigns for any issue in that election. The source of these campaign donations aren’t the titans of industry referred to above; that wouldn’t be practical. If the people at large found out that metal refineries were spending a lot of money on campaigns that push their waste onto the public as a product, their cause would be dead in the water. In fact, the vast majority of money donated to these campaigns comes directly from the ADA. It should also be noted that political fundraising for fluoride offers an opportunity to divert funds to various interests, as seems to have happened in a recent Portland, OR election.
Dentists around the nation come out to support pro-fluoride legislation in droves. A cynical person might see the money that dentists collect from various fluoride treatments and products as their motivation for this, but a more plausible explanation is that they just don’t know any better. Many of the industrial powers with a vested interest in fluoridation have easily been able to manipulate dentists’ opinions through their influences on the EPA, ADA, and FDA.
Boiling it All Down to the Proper Choice
Let’s play devil’s advocate for just a moment. Even if the pro-fluoride camp was completely right about the beneficial effects of fluoride? It’s been well established that there are many available alternatives from which you can obtain the same beneficial effects. The worst case scenario to being wrong about avoiding fluoride is that you spend a few extra minutes making a different game plan for your dental health.
If the pro-fluoride camp proves incorrect in understating the toxic effects of fluoride, however, the consequences are far more dire. When considering the information put forth in this article, the choice should be pretty clear. You don’t have to take our word for it. We didn’t conjure up this information; it’s out there. There are innumerable sources available for cross-reference, many of which are linked in this article.
It’s easy to split hairs on minute details and muddy the waters with a lot of talk about concentration in milligrams per liter, but the bottom line is that avoiding fluoride exposure is simply the safer choice. More than ever before, people in the world today must constantly evaluate risks versus rewards and weigh costs against benefits. Why add another unnecessary concern in fluoride?