The ADA (American Dental Association) supports the belief that fluoride use — particularly when ingested internally — prevents tooth decay. Is this accurate … and at what risk?
Here is what the Fluoride Action Network has to say about it.
According to the current consensus view of the dental research community, fluoride’s primary – if not sole – benefit to teeth comes from topical application to the surfaces of teeth (while in the mouth), and not from ingestion.
It is also acknowledged by dental researchers that fluoride has little effect on preventing cavities in the pits and fissures (chewing surfaces) of teeth – where the majority of tooth decay occurs.
Perhaps not surprisingly, therefore, tooth decay rates have declined at similar rates in all western countries in the latter half of the 20th century – irrespective of whether the country fluoridates its water or not. Today, tooth decay rates thoughout continental western Europe are as low as the tooth decay rates in the United States – despite a profound disparity in water fluoridation prevalence in the two regions.
Within countries that do fluoridate their water (such as the United States and Australia), recent large-scale surveys of dental health – utilizing modern scientific methods not employed in the early surveys from the 1930s-1950s – have found little difference in tooth decay, including in “baby bottle tooth decay”, between fluoridated and unfluoridated communities.