Speed Reads

Don't eat your toothpaste though

Why water fluoridation is a good policy

Since the days of Dr. Strangelove, there have been persistent worries that water fluoridation is dangerous. Only last year, the city of Portland rejected a proposal to fluoridate its water supply for the fourth time since 1956.

Aaron Carroll takes a look at the evidence below. As is often the case with these stories, there are two categories of evidence: First, a few small studies, with weak experimental design or on unusual situations, suggesting there might be some negative effect. Second, more numerous, larger, better designed studies disproving the first category.

Millions of people have been getting fluoridated water for decades, and many high-quality studies have been done. Turns out a small amount of fluoride added to water provides a massive benefit to tooth health, at a minor risk of fluorosis (and for that condition, the main risk is swallowing your toothpaste). So rest easy folks, a bit of fluoride won't sap our precious bodily fluids. --Ryan Cooper