Is there enough fluoride in Tokyo water?

Yes and no. It depends on which side of the fluoride fence you sit on. Some folks think fluoride makes no difference to dental health or is even harmful — perhaps it’s flossing regularly that is important.

In any case, I was surprised to learn that not all developed countries, particularly Japan, have fluoride in their water. I come from Singapore where the water has what I consider comfortable levels of fluoride to prevent bacteria from festering.

As my curiosity was perked on this topic, I searched on the Internet and found that Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Germany, and Czechoslovakia used to fluoridate their public water, but have since stopped.

An expat doctor I got to know in my early days in Tokyo informed me that the fluoride levels in toothpaste in Japan are actually not enough, if you are in the camp that thinks the chemical is an essential part of dental hygiene.

Even foreign branded toothpaste, like Colgate and Aquafresh, are not allowed to have the same amount of fluoride we have back home.

What’s the solution? Either stock up when you go home for a visit, or buy from amazon.com (not amazon.co.jp) or other online stores that ship internationally. It’s not illegal to bring in your own toothpaste into Japan — fluoride toothpaste is just not sold in the country.

Photo: Okinawa Soba

3 Comments so far

  1. jeshii on January 1st, 2009 @ 10:14 am

    Fluoride is more important to children, so as adults, not having as much fluoride in your toothpaste isn’t going to be a big deal if you generally take care of your teeth.

    If you have kids, however, that’s a different story.


  2. astrorainfall on January 1st, 2009 @ 9:54 pm

    Yup that’s right. Kids’ teeth need more attention as they are growing.


  3. bunk on January 4th, 2009 @ 7:55 pm

    Wake up…there’s no fence. You’re just either awake or alseep. Just google "flouride" and "risks" and you’ll get educated and/or shocked.

    Do you think Hitler was the first to put fluouride in water because he was worried about the dental hygene of the Jews? Read this one site from the Consumer Health Organization of Canada…
    http://www.consumerhealth.org/articles/display.cfm?ID=19990817225011

    …and if you’re still not convinced, there are 1000s of other reputable sites to read. Or do what the big pharma companies tell you to do and be a good little sheeple.



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