Should we fluoridate our water supplies?
Fluoride is an effective in reducing the incidence of cavities.
There is a mountain of evidence for this.
It is easy to get distracted by this.
Fortunately, science gives us a tool to get to the heart of the matter. Look for a killer counterexample. Just one.
And here it is, the one and only killer counterexample that outweighs a mountain of evidence:
1. The body treats the fluoride we ingest the same way it treats a known toxin, cadmium. It excretes about 98% of both of them.
A couple of possibilities:
1. The fluoride in our food is not very soluble in our digestive juices and so is not absorbed well.
2. The body treats fluoride as a toxin
2. is more likely – one need only consider what the body does to get essential nutrients iron and calcium, both of which are rather insoluble in most food sources.
Possible rationale for 2: fluoride is a potent inhibitor of glycolysis, and glycolysis is a major source of our energy. In addition, fluoride-capping of bones inhibits their breakdown (same as with teeth – only there is a benefit to doing this with teeth). This is bad when we need to break down our bones to (1) supply components for our bodies or (2) in preparation for rebuilding a stronger bone.
Bodies that do not efficiently send ingested fluoride to waste would be unhealthy bodies to say the least.
Moral: put fluoride in toothpaste if you will, but look to the wisdom of the body, the product of 4 billion years of selective pressures, before adding fluoride to water or food supplies!