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Revista médica de Chile

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MENDOZA V, Carolina. The ethical dilemma of water fluoridation. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2007, vol.135, n.11, pp.1487-1493. ISSN 0034-9887.

Dental caries remains a worldwide public health problem because of its magnitude and impact on affected people's quality of life. Among preventive strategies, water fluoridation is one of the most important, but its value still remains uncertain after more than a half of Century of its use. The aim of this study is to analyse some of the ethical arguments for and against water fluoridation and to determine if empirical data allow to decide if there are correct policies from a bioethical perspective. Autonomy, compulsory medication (mass medication), precautionary principle, justice in health care and ethics of protection are discussed. It is concluded that fluoridation is beneficial and that there is no ethical reason to oppose it, based on a specific kind of ethics developed to analyse and clarify complex public health's issues

Keywords : Ethics; Fluoridation; Public Health.

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