Nothing to Smile About


American children ingest so much fluoride in their foods that the case for water fluoridation introduced 60 years ago to kill cavity-causing bacteria--is rapidly evaporating. In their study of the diets of 3- to 5-year-olds in Richmond, Virginia, scientists from Indiana University found fluoride in various brands of french fries, potato chips, white bread, ketchup and soft drinks--even in fruits, vegetables and grains. This steady ingestion of fluoride in food alone puts children at risk of dental fluorosis, a disruption in the development of tooth enamel caused by excessive fluoride ingestion, the researchers write in the October 2002 issue of Community, Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology.

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