It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s Fluoride-man! He’s faster than a speeding toothbrush, more powerful than gingivitis, able to leap deep cavities in a single bound! Ok, so he may not be the man of steel but Fluoride has made some impressive improvements in our society. The CDC, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, calls fluoridation “One of the most valuable public health measures of the 20th Century”.

There is widespread debate whether or not Fluoride is a super hero or a villian. It appears naturally and artificially in the food we eat, the water we drink and at our dentist’s office. So, it seems that we have no other choice than to understand it and make educated choices.

Our teeth are constantly being damaged or demineralized, by substances we consume and the bacteria in our mouth. Fluoride comes to the rescue by promoting remineralization, attracting the necessary elements to repair the damage caused by these evil villains. Since Fluoride has been added to the water supply in major cities, tooth decay has dropped by roughly 60% in our youth. Kind of like crime in Metropolis…

Even with all the positive results from this additive, there is still much controversy surrounding it. Some go as far to say that it is a form of mass medication, calling it unconstitutional. None of the supposed extreme risks of Fluoride, ranging from allergies to osteoporosis, has ever been scientifically proven. Fluorosis is the only proven risk, resulting in white or brownish spots on the teeth caused by too much fluoride.

Many companies jumped on the Fluoride bandwagon, adding it to bottled water, toothpaste and every other oral product out there. The trickle down effect has benefitted those who need it most desperately: people in economically downtrodden and uneducated communities. This controversial super hero comes to the rescue, saving taxpayers millions of dollars in expenditures for those on Medicaid, as well as additional out of pocket dental costs.

I think it comes down to a universal rule that I try to apply to my daily life: Everything in moderation. In very high amounts, Fluoride is toxic. So is caffeine, but the average American spends $100 per month on gourmet coffee. So maybe, in a way, Fluoride-man is more like the man of steel than we thought. He came to earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men, fighting a never-ending battle for the tooth, justice and the American Way!

by Tarin Keith