Fluoride debate continues
July 15, 2011
Regarding chiropractor Tom Lankering’s letter on fluoridation (“The dangers of fluoride,” July 11, 2011, The Aspen Times). Lankering is misinformed about the safety of fluoride.
Sodium fluoride, a powder, is not commonly used anymore. Fluosilicic acid, a liquid, is preferred. When added to water, it breaks down into fluoride ions, water and a bit of sand. The sand is removed and the pH of water is adjusted before leaving the treatment plant.
Decades of research and systematic reviews by the CDC and the Institute of Medicine have established the safety of community water fluoridation. Health departments continually monitor climate and fluoride in food stuffs to achieve a safe and beneficial level of fluoride in drinking water.
Fluoride is something that occurs naturally in ground water, and humans have evolved to depend on it to strengthen teeth. It is even essential for hearing as it aids the development of the tiny bones in the ear. Because the lack of fluoride causes health problems and because those problems can be reversed by fluoride, this mineral qualifies as a micro-nutrient.
Community water fluoridation can eliminate, on average, one cavity every three years per person. That means that about one-third of a community doesn’t need to see a dentist each year to take care of that extra cavity. Alas, over the years, those needless cavities could also turn into caps, root canals, and extractions. Healthy teeth are especially important to preserve the quality of life in the elderly. So fluoridation is very cost effective.
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Ever since the benefits of fluoride were discovered, it has been blamed for everything from a communist plot to weaken our resolve to cancer and ADHD.
Lankering claims fluoride is linked to bone disease. It’s true that very high amounts of fluoride can cause a condition called skeletal fluorosis. But this is something that almost never seen in the USA and is associated with very high levels of fluoride in parts of India or in a few private wells in the Southwest.
If you are confused about fluoride, just consult with your dentist.