Water fluoridation has been happening in America for many decades. It has generally been seen as a good thing as it is purported to fight tooth decay. The Cochrane Collaboration, which is a highly respected group of researchers and doctors who have an excellent reputation for rigorous analysis and assessments of health policy have recently come out with a report that may belie what has been assumed for decades about water fluoridation. They found shockingly few high quality scientific papers on the efficacy or effectiveness of water fluoridation in preventing cavities. This came as a shock to many in the medical and health field who had assumed it had to be proven since we’ve been doing it to our water for so long.
One reason that water fluoridation is not seen as making much of any difference in dental health outcomes today is that it was only after it was begun and a lot of the now dated research backing it up had been done that toothpastes and rinses containing fluoride became commonly available on the market. According to this article by Handy, people already get plenty of fluoride when they rinse with mouthwash that contains it and brush their teeth. What’s more, when people rinse and brush they are swishing the fluoride around their teeth or brushing it right on their teeth. When you drink a glass of water, it may go straight down your throat barely touching most of your teeth. It may be time to rethink water fluoridation if it’s not doing any good.