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 â€¦ 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.