10 Fluoride Facts You Should Know


Established medical groups fight for fluoride

The EPA and the Department of HHS revised their water fluoridation standards in early 2011.
The EPA and the Department of HHS revised their water fluoridation standards in early 2011.
Thinkstock/Comstock Images/Getty Images

Four out of five dentists might recommend sugarless gum, but virtually every dental and medical association recommends fluoride. The groups that recommend fluoridation at optimal levels reads like a child's confused attempt at the alphabet:

  • ADA (American Dental Association)
  • AMA (American Medical Association)
  • CDC (Centers for Disease Control)
  • EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)
  • WHO (World Health Organization)
  • NRC (National Research Council)
  • CDA (Canadian Dental Association)
  • EAPD (European Academy of Pediatric Dentists)

Although all the groups recommend fluoride, that doesn't mean all of them are gung-ho about community water fluoridation. The EAPD states, "for the majority of European communities, the EAPD recommends the use of an appropriate fluoride toothpaste … to be the basic fluoride method," but still "reaffirms its support for the use of water fluoridation, as recommended by WHO, and in those cases where this is possible" [source: Oulis].

Many groups that oppose fluoridation are grass-roots led, and though many have individual endorsements from scientists, dentists, doctors, and educators, they don't have a broad nod from organized medical or dental associations.

It also must be kept in mind that fluoride is a pollutant, and thus has an influence on the environment. While the effect of fluoride contamination from industry (and naturally occurring fluoride contamination, which might occur when a volcano erupts) is not entirely known, the effect of fluoride-treated water on the environment has been studied and has not been deemed a risk [source: Pollick].

Now let's take a look at our larger global environment, and how fluoride and the fluoride debate is seen much differently from one region to the next.