No Fluoride for You

I was at the dentist this week and she mentioned that my teeth have become worse since coming to Japan. When asked why she thinks that might be, she said I probably need more fluoride:

(me): But don’t you put fluoride in your water here?

(dds): No. It’s not like the US and other countries.

(me): But, it’s in toothpaste and other dental stuff, right? <hesitant stupid question>

(dds): No. It’s not in any over the counter Japanese products. There may be some things which say fluoride, but it’s such a nominal trace amount to be useless – just for marketing maybe. You need to go to the dentist … You could go to an import shop and buy American products.

I was shocked. A first world country with bad teeth partially due to lack of this controlled substance. I suppose it might relate to the prevalent protectionism of this country. They recently changed the law to allow you to buy such dangerous drugs as aspirin at convenience stores (drug stores must be protected), but after months and months and months I have never seen it for sale. I can certainly buy a fresh white business shirt at the conveni so the soiled one from yesterday doesn’t reveal I’ve been out all night, but a Tylenol would be going too far! So, don’t even think of holding out for fluoride; Just visit your friendly dentist for a smile.

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