Fluoride must be good. Every government and public health organization in the world endorses its use, so effective is it at fighting cavities. It's presence is promoted on toothpaste to encourage parents to buy the best for their families. It's added to public drinking water supplies to subtly boost the public's exposure.But is it all too much?
Health Canada, the federal public health agency of our North American neighbor, thinks so.
An expert panel has recommended that the government "cut the recommended amount in drinking water, encourage the use of low-fluoride toothpaste by children and have makers of infant formula reduce levels in their products," according to the Toronto Globe & Mail.
Fluoridation of water, particularly, has been controversial among a small set of advocates for decades. Dismissed as conspiracy theorists, they point to controversial studies linking fluoride exposure to rare bone cancer, learning deficiencies and other ills, as well as well-documented link between over-exposure and the mottling of tooth color, a purely aesthetic problem called fluorosis. (They have also pointed out that brushing fluoride on teeth is effective, whereas ingesting it appears less so, or not at all.)
Canadians, if the panel's recommendations are accepted, will soon be counseled to limit childhood exposure to fluoride. That doesn't mean the panel endorsed the notion that fluoride poses a health risk; indeed, it said the weight of evidence is against any link between fluoride and cancer or IQ deficits, according to the Globe & Mail. But incidence of fluorosis could increase if exposure isn't lowered, the panel said.
Given that Health Canada sat on the recommendations for more than a year, and that U.S. health agencies have routinely spoken strongly in favor of fluoride use, it's unlikely that the government will take any strong action to reduce exposure to fluoride. That leaves it up to parents if they are concerned.
Here's another site that disputes the safety of fluoride and fluoridation.
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