GUEST OPINION: Positives of fluoridation far outweigh negatives – July 11, 2013
Penny Vanderwolk, Sonoma County Oral Health Task Force.
Claim: “All credible and current medical science supports fluoridation as the single most effective strategy for preventing dental caries.”
Response: (1) (2) (3) (4).
Claim: “I also think that most of the very smart, thoughtful opponents to fluoridating the water would agree.”
Response: (5) (6) (7) (8).
Claim: “I wish that, instead of putting up these poorly supported arguments in face of the many credible scientific studies demonstrating that water fluoridation is safe and effective, they would be honest about their true fears.”
Response: “The [York] review team was surprised that in spite of the large number of studies carried out over several decades there is a dearth of reliable evidence with which to inform policy” (9); “Water fluoridation at 0.7 mg/L is not adequate to protect against known or anticipated adverse effects and does not allow an adequate margin of safety to protect young children, people with high water consumption, people with kidney disease (resulting in reduced excretion of fluoride), and other potentially sensitive population subgroups” (10); “A lifetime of excessive fluoride ingestion will undoubtedly have detrimental effects on a number of biological systems in the body and it is illogical to assume that tooth enamel is the only tissue affected by low daily doses of fluoride ingestion” (11).
Claim: “The reality is that sometimes, public health and safety must trump personal freedoms.”
Claim: “It’s why we add chlorine to the water to prevent infectious diseases.”
Response: Chlorine treats the water; fluoridation treats people via the water – big difference (13) (14).
Claim: “To those who would say we can’t afford it, I say we can’t afford not to. Studies clearly demonstrate that for every $1 spent on water fluoridation, $38 is saved on treatment.”
Response: These frequently-cited figures are seriously flawed (15).
Claim: “In my opinion, fluoridating our water is good for our health, our wallets and our children’s future. I’m willing to give up a little of my personal freedom for all that…”
Response: “Although the prevalence of caries varies between countries, levels everywhere have fallen greatly in the past three decades, and national rates of caries are now universally low. This trend has occurred regardless of the concentration of fluoride in water or the use of fluoridated salt, and it probably reflects use of fluoridated toothpastes and other factors, including perhaps aspects of nutrition” (16); “Sweden rejected fluoridation in the 1970s and, in this excellent book, these three scientists have confirmed the wisdom of that decision. Our children have not suffered greater tooth decay, as World Health Organization figures attest, and in turn our citizens have not borne the other hazards fluoride may cause. In any case, since fluoride is readily available in toothpaste, you don’t have to force it on people” (17); “There is insufﬁcient ethical justiﬁcation for artiﬁcial water ﬂuoridation” (18); “Large temporal reductions in tooth decay, which cannot be attributed to fluoridation, have been observed in both unfluoridated and fluoridated areas of at least eight developed countries over the past thirty years. It is now time for a scientific re-examination of the alleged enormous benefits of fluoridation” (19).
Claim: “… If you’re not, well, then don’t drink the water.”
Response: “It’s ridiculous to think that people who need to escape ﬂuoride can go and organise their own water supply. We all pay our water rates for a proper clean water supply, and in ﬂuoridated towns, we’re not getting it” (20); “It [fluoridated water] will go to all households, and the poor cannot afford to avoid it, if they want to, because they will not be able to purchase bottled water or expensive removal equipment” (21).
(1) Modern fluoridation studies
(2) Topical vs. systemic
(3) The evidence of benefit is very weak
(4) So what about the so-called ‘benefits’? (TC 0:46:13)
(5) CAF review
(6) NAS panelist letters
(7) Carlsson interview
(8) Professional perspectives
(9) Sheldon letter
(10) Thiessen comments (p. 5)
(11) Limeback position statement
(12) Fluoridation is not ethical
(13) Fluoridation is a poor medical practice
(14) Water fluoridation & medical ethics
(15) A response to pro-fluoridation claims (Claim #12)
(16) Adding fluoride to water supplies
(17) Carlsson review
(18) Ethics of artiﬁcial water fluoridation in Australia
(19) The mystery of declining tooth decay
(20) Fire water (TC 0:55:17)
(21) The absurdities of water fluoridation