OBJECTIVES In the United States, 95 percent of teens and 85 percent of adults use the Internet. Two social media outlets, Facebook and Twitter, reach more than 150 billion users. This study describes anti-fluoridation activity and dominance on the Internet and social media, both of which are community water fluoridation (CWF) information sources. METHODS Monthly website traffic to major fluoridation websites was determined from June 2011 to May 2012. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube fluoridation activity was categorized as "proCWF" or "anti-CWF." Twitter's anti-CWF tweets were further subcategorized by the argument used against CWF. RESULTS Anti-CWF website traffic was found to exceed proCWF activity five- to sixty-fold. Searching "fluoride" and "fluoridation" on Facebook resulted in 88 to 100 percent anti-CWF groups and pages; "fluoridation" on Twitter and YouTube resulted in 64 percent anti-CWF tweets and 99 percent anti-CWF videos, respectively. "Cancer, " "useless, " and "poisonous" were the three major arguments used against fluoridation. CONCLUSIONS Anti-fluoridation information significantly dominates the Internet and social media. Thousands of people are being misinformed daily about the safety, health, and economic benefits of fluoridation.
Aaron Mertz, M. Allukian
Journal of the Massachusetts Dental Society