Fluoride therapy as a medical necessity is a valuable tool in dispensing dental care. The question of whether or not it should be added to drinking tap water was resolved in 1995 when a majority of Brattleboro citizens decided against it being added to the municipal water supply. It was largely agreed that fluoridation of the water supply amounted to mass medication.
There is also the issue that most of any added fluoride would end up as runoff straight to waste treatment. Moreover, there is no room to site the equipment feeder to add fluoride to the water supply at the water works plant.In fact, Brattleboro’s Pleasant Valley Water Plant is a ground water supply where dissolved mineral residue does provide natural fluoride of about 0.10 milligrams per liter of water, well below any state regulations.
Fluoride is also found naturally in air, soil, rocks and plants. Fluorosilicic acid was formerly referred to as hydrofluorosilicic acid or “silly acid.” Because fluoride is found in abundant sources, the medical science behind it is complicated but fluoride for human uses is strictly regulated with industry standards.
The World Health Organization abstract states, “Effective use of fluorides for the prevention of dental caries in the 21st century: the WHO approach” states that “Research on the oral health effects of fluoride started around 100 years ago; the focus has been on the link between water and fluorides and dental caries and fluorosis, topical fluoride applications, fluoride toothpastes, and salt and milk fluoridation. Most recently, efforts have been made to summarize the extensive database through systematic reviews. Such reviews concluded that water fluoridation and use of fluoride toothpastes and mouthrinses significantly reduce the prevalence of dental caries. WHO recommends for public health that every effort must be made to develop affordable fluoridated toothpastes for use in developing countries. Water fluoridation, where technically feasible and culturally acceptable, has substantial advantages in public health; alternatively, fluoridation of salt and milk fluoridation schemes may be considered for prevention of dental caries.”
The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists reports in “Fluorides” that fluoride increases remineralization of hard tooth tissues that helps enamel to be more resistant to acid attack. In “Dental Fluorosis: Chemistry and Biology”. Critical Reviews in Oral Biology & Medicine indicates that fluoride “does not prevent cavities but rather controls the rate at which they develop making them take a lot longer and making them easier to prevent via normal brushing as it will take a higher amount of acid, usually built up over a number of days, to destroy the created tooth enamel.”
Consumer concerns that fluoride causes kidney disease, cancer or other disorders are not backed up by scientifically valid evidence. Both the safety and efficacy of fluoride is established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the CDC “Water Fluoridation Additives Fact Sheet.” (https://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/factsheets/engineering/wfadditives.htm)
Despite the overwhelming evidence that water fluoridation is safe, it’s not unusual for small localities like Brattleboro to deny adding fluoride to their water supply. However, if the community is aware of other cavity prevention means, especially for the young, there may not be any demonstrative reason for adding fluoride to the drinking water.