30 Jan 2015

Bad teeth — but is fluoride the answer?

AGAIN the poor state of children's teeth in Bolton has made the headlines and again the solution is simple ie. good dental hygiene and a low sugar diet and both can be implemented long before a child is able to demand sweets or sugary drinks.
Parents are the ones who wean a child from milk and decide which soft foods to introduce to their child, so it is important even at this early stage to try to make healthy choices for them. Once a baby's teeth appear they can be wiped gently after meals and at a later stage cleaned with a small, soft tooth brush and a small amount of toothpaste. Once a cleaning routine has been established it hopefully will become a healthy, life-time habit.
There are many toothpastes on the market, many of which contain fluoride, but I expect the subject of adding it to drinking water will soon again be raising its ugly head. I know that this solution to bad teeth is championed by many dentists and that some areas of the country already mass medicate their population in this way, but my main concern is not that many children in these areas have developed mottled teeth, but that mass medication is wrong and may be dangerous.
Can the medical profession guarantee that fluoride is safe for people on medication, under treatments for serious illnesses or have organ problems? I don't think so. In fact how do we know the affects on anyone long term?
With these questions in mind may I finish with one more?
When most of the children who are having these problems with their teeth drink mainly fizzy drinks and sweetened fruit juices etc. how can adding fluoride to water improve the situation? They rarely drink it !
Finally, on the subject of dentists, when I went to school, the dentist came to us at school twice a year and examined our teeth. Those who needed treatment took a card home for parents to sign and give permission for the clinic dentist to do the treatment. These dentist visits to schools, like many others made by other health care professionals, no longer take place and we are now seeing the result.
K. Brown

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