While it may seem that water fluoridation to curb dental decay could be nothing but helpful, it’s not as clear cut as that. Though water fluoridation has proven to greatly diminish the number of people to be stricken with cavities, which can in turn help with other dental issues such as gum disease, it’s also a costly investment. For every person in a country that uses water fluoridation each costs approximately $0.95, which for the United States, a population of 308,745,538, comes to just over $293 million. How could such a large figure be worth it for a few cavities? Simple, for every tooth restoration, it costs on average $86.
Who can benefit?
However, with the advent of new fluoride rich toothpastes the need for fluoridated water is much lower for those that are able to afford such products. Countries in Europe have shown this to be true, with the number of cavity stricken individuals steadily decreasing despite the lack of fluoridated water. That doesn’t hold true for those individuals which are a part of the lower economic bracket that cannot afford such luxuries. With drinking water being the most accessible provider of fluoride, water fluoridation allows for even the poorest of families to maintain at least some form of dental health.
A violation of human rights
Many are quick to praise the effects of water fluoridation, with it being hailed as one of the best medical achievements of the 20th century, but others feel it is a violation of a number of basic rights; the most significant being the opinion that an individual should not be subjected to forced medical treatment, which the use of water fluoridation could be considered. Where the line is drawn between a basic health safety and unjust or infringed rights is a matter of opinion, but despite this the amount of countries using water fluoridation is increasing rapidly.
Do we need water fluoridation?
For centuries oral health was of little concern to the average citizen. Even the most famous and rich individuals were affected by the downsides of cavities, yet today, with the use of water fluoridation and other dental improvements, these problems can be made far less likely to occur. This isn’t to say that water fluoridation is a cure all for your dental problems, rather it is simply an aid meant to subtly improve and limit the oral health problems you might face in your lifetime should you not be drinking water that has been fluoridated. While some maintain a sense of scepticism about it, it’s hard to argue against the evidence and the effects that water fluoridation has had on the public’s health.
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