The truth is out there. Just ask any faithful fan of television’s “The X Files.” Or, better yet, ask former Ste. Genevieve mayor Mike “Buck” Jokerst, who has used information obtained on the Internet in a campaign against fluoridating that town’s drinking water. “The pro-fluoride people today never counted on the truth being so easy to obtain,” Mr. Jokerst said.
Unfortunately, a lot of what passes for truth on the Internet is fiction. Ste. Genevieve residents would do well to remember that as they prepare for a non-binding referendum on fluoridation this week.
No serious scientist doubts the safety of fluoridation, but many conspiracy theorists who have packaged misleading, out-of-date and out-of-context information to entrap the unsophisticated. The Internet has become the last refuge of fringe groups and kooks peddling a host of discredited ideas: HIV doesn’t cause AIDS. Costa Rican bananas spread a “flesh-eating bug.” The government is hiding dead aliens at a secret Nevada base. Fluoride is a health hazard.
But for those willing to look beyond the garbage, it’s also possible to learn on-line that the American Medical Association lists fluoridation among the great public health achievements of the 20th century. They’ll find that the American Dental Association and a host of other scientific groups endorse fluoridation. And there are scores of medical journal articles available on the Web that document improved dental health in communities that have added fluoride to their water.
The truth is out there: Fluoride prevents tooth decay. And critical thinking skills prevent brain rot.