If you go back far enough, you might recall when the federal government introduced a ground-breaking new product that could be added to municipal water supplies and magically reduce calories.
On that premise alone, it was a guaranteed success, as few people enjoy going to the dentist.
Here we are, roughly five decades later, and the jury is still out on the alleged benefits of fluoride.
Most dentists swear by it, some actually get you to rinse between appointments with a fluoride-based mouthwash. But there is the other side, which is becoming increasingly vocal and which insists new studies prove the chemical can cause brain damage in children.
This group has some influential international experts on its side, including one Irish doctor who said just a five-point decline in the median IQ could lead to a 50 per cent increase in the number of mentally disabled people and “gifted” people.
“I think there is a very strong case for the precautionary removal of this mass medication from our drinking water,” said Dr. Vyvyan Howard of the University of Ulster.
Health Canada recently recommended a slight lowering of fluoride in municipal drinking water but not because of links to brain damage. The recommendation is to counter a problem known as fluorosis, a mottling of children’s teeth.
But if it does that to something as hard as teeth, what does it do to your grey matter?
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Note from FAN: This same editorial was published inThe Daily Observer on August 11, 2008.