Dear Dr Le Fanu
It was interesting to read the short piece on Duraphat and Fluoride Varnish in the Telegraph on 10th November.
I am heavily involved in fighting water fluoridation here in the West Midlands where the water is fluoridated at 1ppm fluoride (per litre of water). The Department of Health is in denial about water fluoridation and refuses to accept that fluoride damages health. It's difficult to prove the damage because the statistics on poor health problems are confounded by the mobility of the population of England. Fluoridation is also a government policy and nothing is allowed to rock the boat, so reading information on how fluoride hurt two people in two different ways in a national paper is a very rare occurrence.
The fluoride varnish programme is being rolled out throughout primary schools in England and Wales and is the treatment of choice for primary school children whose parents unwisely agree for their children to have the varnish painted on their teeth once every 6 months.
The treatment has to be repeated every 6 months, presumably because the varnish wears off. We are told that the varnish is not swallowed. However, I can't really see where else it could go. If children who are included in the fluoride varnish programme are suffering from gastric distress and lower bowel pain, then it's being kept very quiet. Either that or parents are not joining the dots.
Everything to do with fluoride and fluoridation, as far as the media is concerned, is kept under the blanket. National Media is inexplicably wary about featuring the issue so I'm surprised that you were able to get your short piece published. I hope that, in future, your hands are not tied.
If you are interested in this issue and would like to get involved, please let me know.
Thanks for being in touch and drawing attention to this fluoride varnish programme in primary schools about which I was unaware. I would be intrigued to know the evidence for this policy and would share your concerns about its possible adverse effects - especially given the experience related by Sheila B below.
My husband had similar symptoms. He complained for about year or longer about abdominal pains bloody stools couldn't drink red wine or beer. He was convinced he had cancer and had many investigations including swallowing a tiny camera, nothing was found and his doctor thought he was imagining his problems and I am afraid I did also!
He washes his teeth about 4 times a day using fluoride toothpaste,rinsed with a fluoride mouthwash and we had fluoride in the water when we lived in Ireland. We live half the year on our farm in U.S. which has its own well. While we were there my husband noticed his symptoms were not as bad and decided to stop the mouthwash and to use non fluoride toothpaste. Amazingly his symptoms disappeared almost overnight and he can once more drink red wine. He only drinks German beer as that does not have fluoride .
Interestingly if you buy toothpaste in Lidl which has fluoride in it there is a notice on the tube which says if you are getting fluoride from any other source consult your doctor!!