In many ways, fluoride has become a political and social cause. While the traditional medical and dental establishment sees the benefits of adding fluoride to water, those on the other side of the fluoride debate see a government entity exposing their bodies to a potentially toxic substance.
There's also the argument that good dental hygiene is not necessarily available or affordable in all communities. While fluoride toothpaste or other fluoridated oral products are effective cavity-fighters, some see fluoridating water as a free public health service that could save parents from spending money on dental treatment for cavities.
Like every issue surrounding fluoride, there is an equal and entirely opposite side to the economic and social argument. Those who are wary of fluoridation argue that over-exposure to fluoride is actually more harmful to low-income groups, as fluorosis is costly to treat: bleaching, micro-abrasion and veneers cost a pretty penny.
Beyond social and economic inequality, many opponents of fluoridation simply see it as government intrusion in their most basic right to choose how to take care of their own body. More than personal choice, it also becomes a way of forcing parents to cede control of their children's bodies.
As we'll see in the next page, we'll check out why each side is begging the other to "think of the children."