It is a scenario playing out nationwide. From Oregon to Pennsylvania, hundreds of communities have in recent years either stopped adding fluoride to their water supplies or voted to prevent its addition. Supporters of such bans argue that people should be given the freedom of choice. The broad availability of over-the-counter dental products containing the mineral makes it no longer necessary to add to public water supplies, they say. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that while store-bought products reduce tooth decay, the greatest protection comes when they are used in combination with water fluoridation.

The outcome of an ongoing federal case in California could force the Environmental Protection Agency to create a rule regulating or banning the use of fluoride in drinking water nationwide. In the meantime, the trend is raising alarm bells for public health researchers who worry that, much like vaccines, fluoride may have become a victim of its own success.

The CDC maintains that community water fluoridation is not only safe and effective but also yields significant cost savings in dental treatment. Public health officials say removing fluoride could be particularly harmful to low-income families — for whom drinking water may be the only source of preventive dental care.

“If you have to go out and get care on your own, it’s a whole different ballgame,” said Myron Allukian Jr., a dentist and past president of the American Public Health Association. Millions of people have lived with fluoridated water for years, “and we’ve had no major health problems,” he said. “It’s much easier to prevent a disease than to treat it.”

According to the anti-fluoride group Fluoride Action Network, since 2010, over 240 communities around the world have removed fluoride from their drinking water or decided not to add it.

  • skozzii
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    3 months ago

    Ban the fluoride and give universal dental care like Canada is planning.

    A pipe dream. The dummies will likely just ban the fluoride with no other plan or solution.

    • Artyom@lemm.ee
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      3 months ago

      Or, ya know, keep the fluoride in the water and also give universal dental care. Removing the fluoride from the water is the more expensive solution.

      • affa@startrek.website
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        3 months ago

        Yeah.

        God forbid we do something expensive if it’s to improve people’s health…

    • Kethal@lemmy.world
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      3 months ago

      Yeah, so few people advocate for this though. It’s either fluoridation is unbalancing my humors or let’s fluoridate a bunch of water that will go down the drain.

    • a4ng3l@lemmy.world
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      3 months ago

      You know that eventually free healthcare is still paid by everyone ? Why add the cost of generally preventable tooth decay to the tab? It’s not mutually exclusive…

      • Liz@midwest.social
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        3 months ago

        Free universal healthcare is cheaper than the current US system for a whole pile of reasons, mainly by consolating the consumer into one giant bargaining group. But there are secondary savings, like enabling people to get regular check ups to catch things early before they get expensive. It also enables them to go to the doctor when they need it, instead of gambling that they’ll get better; it’s cheaper if many people go in for small things than if a few people go in for large things.

      • Kedly@lemm.ee
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        3 months ago

        US healthcare is the most expensive healthcare in the world because it can push people and insurance companies around. The rest of the 1st world pays LESS than the US does for itd healthcare because governments have the power to tell healthcare providers to go fuck themselves if they try and charge too much

        • a4ng3l@lemmy.world
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          3 months ago

          That’s unrelated with the need of prevention over having comprehensive healthcare coverage… I mean it’s not a bad point, but it’s unrelated.

          Let healthcare be free for the patient thanks to magic money it still sucks to experience tooth decay that would have been prevented by chemically treating water as it’s always been.

          • Kedly@lemm.ee
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            3 months ago

            Its not the magic of free money, thats literally what tax $ are for. And when the government pays for healthcare, suddenly, for some reason, they care more about legislation that keeps its citizens healthier. Stop eating the propaganda that private healthcare tries to sell you, universal healthcare is as free as libraries, paved roads in cities, and clean water in proper 1st world countries is. Private healthcare is more expensive in literally every sense than universal healthcare is.

            tl:dr: You want flouridated water? A government that has to pay for the dental costs of its citizens is going to have a hell of a lot more incentive to keep flouridating the water as long as it doesnt cause healthcare costs elsewhere

            • Ookami38@sh.itjust.works
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              3 months ago

              I thiiiiink the point they’re trying to make is, why not both? It’s cheaper to have some kind of subsidized public healthcare, versus what we have now. Doing that, but then removing the fluoride from the water will still be cheaper than today’s plan, but more expensive than better healthcare AND fluoridated water. Why choose one when there’s no real reason not to have both?

              • Kedly@lemm.ee
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                3 months ago

                I even put it in the Tl:dr though, a government paying for its citizens healthcare is likely going to push for Flouridated water, both is the default, “why not both” is a redundant argument, and OP is still referring to universal healthcare as “magic money” which is disingenuous, stupid, and a private healthcare propaganda sound byte

      • 4am@lemm.ee
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        3 months ago

        “Free Healthcare” is free as in libre, not free as in beer.

        Everyone is free to get it. We all pay for it. We would pay far less than what we pay now in premiums. It works on other countries, and there is no reason it wouldn’t work here in the USA.

        • towerful@programming.dev
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          3 months ago

          “Free at the point of service”.
          “Inclusive as a part of citizenship”.

          Of course it costs money, of course everyone pays for it. That’s what taxes are

          • Delta_V@lemmy.world
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            3 months ago

            state and local taxes work that way - state and local governments spend tax dollars to buy goods and services

            federal taxes just delete money from targeted people, choosing who to make poorer in order to regulate inflation - the federal government creates new dollars when it needs to buy something

        • moody@lemmings.world
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          3 months ago

          It is free as in beer, in the sense that you as a patient never have to spend out of pocket for medical care.

          There’s always someone arguing “It’s not free cause your taxes pay for it,” but you’re paying those taxes anyway regardless of where the money goes. You as an individual would never notice the difference in your taxes.

          • Kedly@lemm.ee
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            3 months ago

            And the idiots dont realise that EVERYONE pays less in those taxes than they currently pay for their private healthcare. Private healthcare COSTS MORE than public healthcare because the drug makers, hospitals, etc have more power to gouge insurance companies and the average Joe than they do a large government

      • metaStatic@kbin.social
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        3 months ago

        yeah and a car accident is generally preventable too.

        how about an impacted wisdom tooth? should have thought about that before growing teefs nerd, enjoy your crippling debt.