A smile says a lot. It’s often our first line of communication with others and we want to make a good (or at least, not a horribly bad) impression. For decades, fluoridated water has been touted as the nearly effortless guarantee to a better smile—healthier, decay-free teeth that move us up the bright white-toothed evolutionary ladder, away from our yellow-toothed primitive ancestors.
In 1945, adding fluoride to water was hailed as one of the greatest health achievements of modernity, but today the Environmental Protection Agency classifies fluoride as a developmental neurotoxin and endocrine disruptor.
A byproduct of the booming use of fluorine in the aluminum and steel manufacturing industries of the 1940s and ‘50s, as well as in refrigerants and even Teflon cookware (along with uranium enrichment), there was an abundance of fluoride—fluorine’s industrial waste byproduct—widely available to be sold off as a necessary, government mandated “fix” in cavity prevention.
But just how many cavities does fluoridated water really prevent? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say it’s somewhere around 25 percent, but the numbers may be even lower. And as we now know, a diet high in refined sugars and grains can override any fluoridation treatment, creating the perfect environment for the rapid development of tooth decay.
Adding fuel to Seifert’s argument is the practice of not fluoridating water throughout 97 percent of Western Europe. According to the film, the decline in tooth decay in those countries over the last four decades mirrors the decline in the U.S., which here is most often credited as a result of water fluoridation.
One of the more startling revelations in the film is the notion that fluoride is a drug. By definition, drugs are substances used to treat or prevent an illness, as Douglas A. Ruley, Environmental Law Professor at Vermont Law School explains in the film. And according to Ruley, fluoride is added to our water for one reason only: “to prevent dental decay.”
The problem is the issue of informed consent: Doctors can’t administer drugs without patient consent, yet the U.S. government mandates the addition of fluoride to water. Ruley points out that even the Supreme Court has ruled that Americans have a fundamental right to refuse medical treatment, so why not fluoridated water? Getting people, particularly policy makers, to look at fluoride is incredibly challenging. It’s “a really hard issue to get any traction on,” Seifert told Organic Authority in an email.
And, says Seifert, “the main argument for fluoridating our water (or to avoid a conversation about it) stems from the false logic that longevity equals safety. It’s stated something like this: Fluoridation has been practiced for 70 years, so it has to be safe,” he said in a statement. “If you believe science to be static and knowledge frozen in time, and that the same longevity argument proved true for things like lead, asbestos, and tobacco, then yes, fluoridation need not be questioned.”
You can watch the film in its entirety below.
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Image courtesy of “Our Daily Dose”