Is there a water additive that fixes Stupid?

The SA Health Department is reaping the unpleasant rewards of an uneducated society yet again. Their attempts to introduce water fluoridation are being thwarted by the usual outspoken minority of nutjobs. In a poll by IOL, one reader had this to say:

I wish people would firstly research things before they say how great there are. Any google search on fluoride would tell you, fluoride is neurotoxic and reduces IQ levels (not something we need in this country). Its a carcinogen, thereby creating cancer. Changes bone structure causing (mainly) hip problems, oesteoporosis (to name only 2 out of a long list). Causes birth defects. Is INEFFECTIVE at strengthening teeth. Impairs immune systems (great for aids sufferers). Increases lead and arsenic exposure. Suppresses thyroid function. Is banned in most countries…AND ISN’T EVEN APPROVED BY THE FDA!!!! Last (of my list) but not least, I PERSONALLY don’t want it…wheres my choice in this lovely democracy??? AND WE CAN’T EVEN SMOKE IN PUBLIC!!!

Where to start? Any google search on water flouridation will tell you that it’s a perfectly safe way to greatly reduce tooth decay across large communities, and is especially effective in those communities where people cannot afford good dental care i.e. most of this country.  It will also tell you that the FDA has no jurisdiction over communal drinking water, only bottled water, in which it does approve the use of fluoride and the statement “Drinking fluoridated water may reduce the risk of dental caries or tooth decay”. You will also discover that the process of water fluoridation is one that was stumbled upon by observing the natural benefits to people who live in areas where the water naturally contains fluoride (I thought these kooks preferred natural medicine?). Studies eventually determined the optimum level of fluoride required to reap the benefits while avoiding the only real side effect: a cosmetic staining of the teeth called dental fluorosis. You might also discover that water fluoridation involves carefully regulating the amount of fluoride in water, which in some cases involves increasing it to the optimum level, and in other cases involves decreasing it when the natural level is too high.

Despite there being absolutely zero evidence to support their claims, and a huge amount against them, fluoridation scaremongers continue to lie about fluoride causing cancer, HIV, lower IQ, osteoporosis, birth defects, and a host of other maladies. The fact is that water fluoridation is one of the most successful health policies ever to be enacted. Millions of people have consumed fluoridated water for the last 50 years without any adverse side effects, despite the policy being scrutinized by study after study, as far back as 1957. In that time, tooth decay in communities with fluoridated water has been reduced by up to 56% compared to communities without fluoridated water.

Yes, fluoride is a poison, and enough of it will kill you. But even water will kill you if you consume enough of it. And apparently some people are doing a fantastic job of lowering their own IQ rates even without the help of additives.

…and what a surprise, yet another example of someone who thinks that multiple exclamation marks and stating things in uppercase will somehow make them seem more rational…

9 Responses to “Is there a water additive that fixes Stupid?”

  1. residentRsole Says:

    The wikipedia article on this subject is a good read, if one has faith in the wiki’s accuracy.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_fluoridation_controversy

    I have also seen statements that the type of fluorides present in toothpaste cause gum pockets and gums to recede and that this can be reversed in a few months if one stops using toothpaste. This is something that should be easy to prove/disprove using before- and after photographs.

    And then there are those various tests on animals that make fluorides look very bad. It would be nice to get hold of those journal articles regarding those experiments to see what the researchers actually did.

    I am not a chemist so I have to educate myself a bit before I can criticise the arguments.

  2. fluoride is ineffective at strengthening teeth?! i think the fact that my mother fed me fluoride as a child is the only reason i still have teeth. well, that might be an exaggeration, but i don’t have any fillings. it would be good to know how much fluoride is being put into the water, so that people like my mother don’t over fluoride their children, but, other than that i don’t think there is a problem. to quote a south african cultural icon, ‘is bloody bullcrap, guy’

  3. residentRsole Says:

    When I have watched shows like national geographic and seen primitive people in Papua New Guinea and those kinds of places, I have always been surprised at how good their teeth were. Then I look at the people that I know who have horrible teeth, numerous fillings, crowns, false teeth, etc. I guess that the modern people have much more acidic foods in their diets than those tribal folk.

    I also remember, from when I was at school, that we were handed skulls of people that had lived well over a hundred years ago. The teeth were in perfect condition and this was pointed out to us. Okay, one or two skulls is a small sample size but I wonder how humans coped for centuries without toothpaste. Is the modern diet far more acidic than those from previous centuries ?

    In both cases (tribal people and those who lived a long time ago), neither had toothpaste. So, I wonder: is toothpaste really necessary ? If indeed fluoride is good for ones teeth, then the water supply should provide all the fluoride that one would ever need.

    What about wild animals ? They don’t need to brush their teeth. According to what Moonflake says, they should get their fluoride from natural sources of water e.g. rivers, lakes, snow. I am always impressed by close-ups of tiger’s teeth. Are mammals able to grow new teeth to replace those that fall out from decay ? Humans can’t.

  4. residentRsole: i wouldn’t trust wikipedia at ALL in matters of controversy – in an attempt to remain ‘NPOV’ they often put into print ideas that are just plain WRONG, and then give them equal time with the truth. Go check out sites like DentalWatch if you want the facts.
    also, i don’t see that feeding a rat x concentration of fluoride and then observing negative effects proves anything more than that x concentration of fluoride is poisonous to rats. The fact is that 50+ years of human use has proven beyond a shadow of reasonable doubt that optimal fluoride concentrations prevent dental caries and have no adverse side effects. No animal trial at this stage is going to trump half a century of human data.
    dystopia: optimal fluoridation for water is between 0.7 and 1.2 parts per million. As I understand it, the amount of fluoride in toothpaste is actually far less regulated than the amount of fluoride in fluoridated water, with the average US toothpaste having about 1000 ppm fluoride.
    residentRsole: actually there is plenty of evidence that humans looked after their teeth as early as the bronze age, toothpaste recipes date back to ancient egypt, and fillings as early as the medieval ages. Just because people don’t have access to toothpaste and a toothbrush doesn’t mean they don’t understand the need for toothcare and have their own primitive implements to do the same. However dental health has got worse in the last century due to diet. As far as animals go, domesticated animals have plenty of dental problems as any pet owner will tell you. Wild animals generally do not live long enough for that sort of thing to become a serious problem.

  5. residentRsole Says:

    moonflake: Good points. I still want to find out whether fluorides can be linked to gum recession. The story goes that it affects the proteins that the gums secrete so that they can stick to the enamel. I will email DentalWatch and few others.

    Regarding toothpaste, you misunderstood me. When I was talking about toothpaste, I was referring to toothpaste with fluoride in it. I am aware of ancient dental hygiene. I have also seen photographs of primitive “dentist’s drills” too. The SAS survival guide has a section on dental care in extreme conditions and lists strawberries as being very effective when one rubs them on the teeth. (Never tried it though).
    What I am asking is this: with sufficient fluorides in our water supply and foods, do we still need toothpaste with fluorides in them, even if the amounts are less than in fluoridated water ?

  6. I don’t think the intention is for it to replace toothpaste, any more so than taking a supplement should be incentive to stop eating. Especially when you look at the concentrations mentioned in my previous comment. I think the difference is that in communities where people cannot afford luxuries like toothpaste, or among children where there is some habitual shirking on the brushing, it makes a significant difference over and above nothing. Note that mouthwashes and rinses often also contain fluoride, but no-one would suggest that using lysterine is a reason to stop brushing your teeth.

  7. Con-Tester Says:

    (I thought these kooks preferred natural medicine?)
    Whenever the “natural is better” card is played, I offer a freshly cut white oleander stalk to chew on, lightly sprinkled with fresh arsenic. It’s odd that there’s never any takers.

  8. i think….. ….. i don’t know

    sorry

  9. Sorry you have your facts wrong. It is not true that Fluorodated water is safe.
    It is far from it. I don’t know if you work for the FDA, EPA, or the ADA. However, you suggest that people are kooks to worry about a toxin like Fluoride. Your suggestion is in itself is dangerous, manipultive and evil. Most countries in the world now have banned Fluoride in water. Do you think that most countries are kooky? You should do more research about Fluoride before you come here pontificating your authority as though it should be accepted as some sort of moral dogma.

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