Is Fluoride Safe And Effective


Is Fluoride Safe and Effective?

Published On: February 1, 2024Tags: ,

By Robert C Dickson MD, CCFP, FCFP

I am a medical doctor, and I strongly oppose artificial water fluoridation.

It is said that if a lie or mistruth is repeated often enough, it will finally be accepted as true. Such is the case with the oft-stated mantra of the pro-fluoridationists, persisting for eight decades now—water fluoridation is “safe and effective.”

Today, we hear that mantra repeated recklessly, across many forums, for entities and treatments that are neither.

Don’t lose touch with uncensored news!  Join our mailing list today.

Is water fluoridation safe and effective? The short answer is a resounding NO. The long answer—well, excellent books have tackled and dealt with this contentious and polarizing subject over several decades. One of the earliest which delved into the bad politics and poor science behind fluoridation was The American Fluoridation Experiment by the esteemed Dr. George Waldbott in 1957. Another, a leader in the anti-fluoride charge in Europe, was Dr. Hans Moolenburgh who wrote the 1987 book Fluoride: The Freedom Fight, which was instrumental in keeping Europe 97% fluoridation-free to this date.

Want to read a spy thriller that is actually based on 10 solid years of research and investigative journalism? Christopher Bryson’s brilliant exposé The Fluoride Deception takes one down a journalistic ride through the underbellies of dark science, government corruption, and the manufacturing of consent. Hard to put this one down!

One of my all-time favourites is The Case Against Fluoride, researched and written meticulously and published in 2010 by my now dear demented friend and mentor, Dr. James Beck, PhD, MD. Co-authored by arguably the most knowledgeable man on the planet in the fluoridation arena, Dr. Paul Connett, PhD, from the USA, and by the late Dr. Spedding Micklem, PhD, from the UK, this highly-referenced book is still the major tome in the fight for clean and safe water.

The consensus is that fluoride’s action and effectiveness, if any, is mainly topical and not ingested. WHO (World Health Organization) data shows cavity rates in children have dropped as much in nations that don’t fluoridate as in those that do. And, the respected Cochrane Collaboration, the gold standard of evaluating medical literature, found no evidence of cavity reduction in adults nor any difference in cavity rates between low-income and higher-income families. The wealthy have better health and teeth than the poor, and that is consistent with high-quality research that fluoridation does not benefit the poor nor reduce the disparity.

I am not alone in this decades-long struggle. I know many doctors and dentists who have studied the literature and who feel the same, but most are reluctant to speak up for fear of criticism, censorship, and even threats to licensure (as with my five-year battle with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta) and livelihood.

Doctors and dentists get minimal training and education about fluoride in their schooling years, and most of it is short on science and long on cheer-leading. I recall a dentist saying that they were told in dental school that they didn’t have to be concerned about the science of fluoridation, as it was settled, but to be a good dentist they must ardently support the practice. And why not, as the average dentist can earn into six figures simply by having their assistants apply fluoride products?

I initially supported water fluoridation as an MD, as glitzy and smooth-sounding brochures and advertisements crossed my busy medical desk and hit the airwaves. I voted yes for fluoridation in the 1998 plebiscite in Calgary. Activists then challenged me to look at the actual science. I was taken aback by what I found and enlisted my PhD MD friend, Dr. James Beck. Within weeks, he agreed that fluoridation was indeed a mistake and that we should do something about it. His infamous words were, “Bob, with all this science behind us, we should have this awful practice stopped in months!” 

Flash forward. Twelve years of lobbying and educating City Councillors and staff, Deans of Medical Schools, and Medical Officers of Health, and writing numerous articles and op-eds alongside several tenacious grassroots activists, the Calgary City Council passed an excellent motion. In 2011, Council put fluoridation to rest, and they have been attacked tenaciously and relentlessly ever since.

One of the attacks on City Council and professionals opposing fluoridation had to do with the fact that in 2011, there was no public vote. But one has to only apply common sense—nobody should be voting on what medication their friends, colleagues, and strangers take. Public plebiscites should not replace good science and debate. Common sense, unfortunately, is not so common anymore.

How about the ethics of mass medicating, without informed consent, and without follow-up or re-evaluation of patients (all citizens who cannot because of cost, or unwittingly do not, avoid fluoridated water)? Highly unethical!

Then there is dose and dosage. Water engineers can only control the concentration of what goes into public water, not to mention the fact that no other medications are administered through water. The so-called “safe” level of fluoride has been lowered repeatedly over the years, and now is most commonly set at 0.7 ppm. But what if a labourer or athlete drinks 10 glasses of fluoridated water and you drink just one? Those people are getting 10 times the dose, and maybe more, depending on body weight!

Fluoridation has always been highly controversial, but there is agreement in some areas. We all want to see fewer cavities, especially in our children, proven safety, and prudent use of our tax dollars.


No. The tiny, aggressive fluoride ions go to every cell, organ, and system in the body, even penetrating the usually protective placental and blood-brain barriers. The strongest science and evidence now points to neurotoxicity or brain damage. Out of 85 recent high-quality studies on the human brain, some funded by the NIH in the USA, 76 showed neurotoxicity. Hundreds of animal studies show the same. Many of these studies are at Canadian recommended concentrations in public water, 0.7 ppm. These studies showed significant drops in the IQ of children, from 3-15 points, and up to a tripling of ADHD!

Significantly, the MD Editor of JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics, stated after publishing the groundbreaking 2019 study by Canadian researchers from Simon Fraser and York Universities, that if his wife was pregnant, he would not have her drinking fluoridated water.

The science is so profound that there is a Federal Court case in the USA against the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) for putting a known neurotoxin in public waters. This case has been ongoing for over seven years and is nearing completion, hopefully in February 2024. Judge Chen has stated “there is serious evidence here” of fluoride’s neurotoxicity, and that the EPA, mandated to protect water supplies, should “take a second look.” The complainants, Food and Water Watch, Moms Against Fluoride, the Fluoride Action Network, et al, led by top lawyer Michael Connett, have been successful every step of the way, and expert doctors and researchers who testified against fluoridation pro bono easily handled the hired guns from the EPA’s team. This could be the beginning of the end for water fluoridation.

Trial information here:

Additionally, the newest longitudinal studies out of New York State show virtually no benefit after decades of fluoridation!

One of the most comprehensive reviews of fluoride’s toxicity was the 2006 National Research Council’s 500-page report, “Fluoride In Drinking Water.” This report concluded that fluoride is an endocrine disruptor and increases the risk of dental fluorosis (damage to tooth enamel from too much fluoride), hypothyroidism, especially in women who are low in iodine, diabetes, kidney, and bone and skeletal harms. The NRC Report recommended further research on these problems. This report very strongly contradicts the pro-fluoridation stance of “safe and effective.”

In 2023, a court ruling finally forced the release of the much-anticipated NTP (National Toxicology Program) Report, which had been blocked, embargoed, and forced to downgrade its evidence compiled over a rigorous seven years of review of all things fluoridation by pro-fluoridation forces. This systematic review found that in 29 of the highest quality studies, all but two linked fluoride to lower IQ, and 11 were at current fluoridation levels. Even the EPA acknowledged under oath that the four strongest studies, all funded by the NIH, showed significantly lowered IQ, and one, a significant increase in ADHD.

A recent study by world-renowned scientists Bruce Lanphear, from Simon Fraser University, and Phillippe Grandjean, from University of Denmark, determined that pregnant women ingesting just 0.2 ppm, could lower the IQ of their children. This is highly significant because the City of Calgary is in the process of spending $28 million of taxpayers’ dollars to reinstate fluoride at 0.7 ppm, over three times the neurotoxic dose. These scientists concluded that the “results should inspire a revision of water fluoride recommendations aimed at protecting pregnant women and young children.”

How can anyone look at this preponderance of studies and the prestigious scientists behind them and still say that fluoridation is proven to be safe for everyone? Yet, those agencies tasked with protecting us—Health Canada, the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Dental Association, the CDC, the EPA, and right down the chain of command, still all support water fluoridation. It is highly unlikely that they are unaware of the science, so that leaves us questioning the mantra of “trust the science and the experts.”

The latest data—a mere 2-3% improvement in dental health over 20 years with the major study just released in the UK involving millions of patients!

Unsafe, ineffective, unethical, costly—water fluoridation should be put where it belongs, in the Museum of Failed Medical and Public Health Practices.

The content of this article are my views and not necessarily those of my colleagues or the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta.

Dr. Robert C. Dickson, MD, CCFP, FCFP, is a practicing Family Physician in Calgary, Alberta. He is the Founder of Safe Water Calgary, the Chair of Fluoride Free Canada, and an active member of FAN, the Fluoride Action network