The John Birch Society was right. Fluoridation isa plot. Not of Communists, however.
Toothpaste, it turns out, is a virus from outer space.
Impossibly distant, wonderfully evolved aliens detected our existence long eons ago. Benevolent creatures of ethereal purity, they resolved to do what they could to improve our lives. At enormous cost, they devised viral messengers of great subtlety and launched them across the void.
For a million years, the dust floated between stars. Hominids emerged from the African veldt and, as foreseen, built civilizations. Finally, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the viral messengers arrived, floating down unnoticed from the night sky.
Nanomachines unpacked themselves. Insights spontaneously blossomed within human brains. By a series of what seemed logical decisions, fluoride was introduced into the drinking water.
Unfortunately, the aliens had conquered their baser instincts so long ago that they had completely forgotten about war, racism, aggression, and all the myriad woes we humans bring upon ourselves. These they could easily have cured. But they knew nothing of them. So they gave us the greatest gift they could think of.
The purpose of fluoridation is to prevent tooth decay.
© 2002 by Michael Swanwick and SCIFI.COM.