Examining the Ethics Behind Water Fluoridation

Avatar Michelle Estevez | September 5, 2018

Arguments against fluoride and its effect on our overall wellbeing are made on a regular basis. Many people rely on fluoride for healthy teeth, but perhaps we are not asking the right questions. By adding fluoride to our water, do we go against the ethics of mass medication without consent?

There’s a lot of debate surrounding fluoride and the ethics behind it being added to our public water supply. After years of being marketed as a preventative method in tooth decay, water fluoridation is no longer widely accepted.

 

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is often found in dental products including toothpaste or mouthwash. According to Colgate, experts recommend ingesting fluoride, “swallowed fluoride enters the bloodstream and becomes part of the permanent teeth as they develop.”

Fluoride is an inorganic compound based from its organic counterpart, fluorine. There are various kinds of fluorides found in nature as well as being the result of human activity.

While some claim fluoride to be the solution, others argue against water fluoridation. Is there such thing as too much?

Health risks related to fluoridated water consumption

Ongoing research points to related health risk including thyroid issues, pineal gland calcification, dental fluorosis, and more.

While it’s hard to prove an issue being a direct correlation with fluoridated water, organizations such as the Fluoride Action Network are working to further their studies and educate the public. Whether fluoride is good for us or not, it doesn’t hurt to research the topic and learn about the long-term effects this chemical has on our bodies.

 

Regarding Ethics

If fluoride is marketed as a preventative method against tooth decay and used as dental treatment, there is room to argue that water fluoridation is mass medication without consent.

This raises the question of the common good over the individual while taking ethics into consideration. 


Written by Michelle Estevez