Daily Archives: July 1, 2015

Early Fluoridation Concerns were Pushed Aside due to Politics, Not Science

Once a practice such as adding fluoride to drinking water becomes institutionalized as a “public” health practice the presumption is that the practice is safe until proven otherwise, even if it has not been proven to be safe initially. Just as the early concerns about the negative impact of Obamacare on the cost of US healthcare were pushed aside due to politics, so it was with fluoride decades prior.

AJPH is a fluoride advocacy publication. An invalid presumption that fluoridation is safe and effective for reducing dental caries will result in a conclusion that fluoride is safe and effective for reducing dental caries. Circular reasoning at best.

Carstairs C. Debating Water Fluoridation Before Dr. Strangelove. American Journal of Public Health.” 2015 Jun 11:e1-e9.

In the 1930s, scientists learned that small amounts of fluoride naturally occurring in water could protect teeth from decay, and the idea of artificially adding fluoride to public water supplies to achieve the same effect arose. In the 1940s and early 1950s, a number of studies were completed to determine whether fluoride could have harmful effects. The research suggested that the possibility of harm was small. In the early 1950s, Canadian and US medical, dental, and public health bodies all endorsed water fluoridation. I argue in this article that some early concerns about the toxicity of fluoride were put aside as evidence regarding the effectiveness and safety of water fluoridation mounted and as the opposition was taken over by people with little standing in the scientific, medical, and dental communities. The sense of optimism that infused postwar science and the desire of dentists to have a magic bullet that could wipe out tooth decay also affected the scientific debate.