6 Jan 2015

USA - Rethinking Water Fluoridation for the Economically Disadvantaged

By Marlene Lily 
Our public health officials claim water fluoridation is an effective way to prevent the high rates of tooth decay now found in low-income children. Here are four problems with this idea:
thumb_2_dental-care-for-children.jpg1) There are oral health crises in low-income areas that have been fluoridated for decades. Fluoridation has not prevented low-income neighborhoods from suffering what numerous state and local health officials describe as a crisis. It is unclear, therefore, how fluoridation can be expected to alleviate the alleged oral health crisis in Sonoma County when it has failed to prevent such crises in areas that have been fluoridated for 30 to 60 years.
2) Published studies have repeatedly found that fluoridation does not prevent the type of tooth decay – baby bottle tooth decay (BBTD) – that is one hallmark of the current local oral health crisis. Photos used (deceptively) by County Health Department employees to emphasize the urgent need for fluoridation are almost always photos of BBTD.  Only education can prevent BBTD.  Fluoridation will have no effect.
3) The Centers for Disease Control say that fluoride works topically – so there is no reason for ingesting it.
4) Evidence of disproportionate harm to communities of color turns on its head the notion that fluoridation is a benefit to the economically disadvantaged.  In fact, it is the poor who are most harmed by fluoride, suffering higher rates of dental fluorosis, as well as the other health effects of fluoride, especially diabetes and asthma. Poor diet results in more tooth decay and more harm from fluoride.
Fluoridation Is Not Dental Care
The addition of cheap industrial hazardous waste to the water supply has never been, and will never be, a substitute for dental care. If we really care about the oral health of our children we should put our money into dental care, hygiene, and nutrition education, free toothbrush/toothpaste programs, fluoride varnishes for those who need them most, and reduced sugar intake.
Among the groups often listed as supporting fluoridation is the World Health Organization (WHO).  WHO does favor fluoridation. But what is often ignored by proponents is the WHO’s precautionary caveat that water fluoridation programs should not be started unless the municipality/water authority has conducted prior tests on residents to establish their total daily fluoride intake from all sources of food and beverage and environmental exposures. 
The Board of Supervisors and the Department of Health services has spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on an Engineering Report and water fluoridation promotion without allocating a single dime to determine whether the children of Sonoma County may already be ingesting an “optimal” or greater-than-optimal amount of fluoride.
More than 40 years ago, before southern Marin County was fluoridated, John Lee, M.D., did a study of children’s diets to determine fluoride intake.  Simultaneously, another group studied the fluoride in the urine of Marin teenagers.
Both studies revealed that Marin county children were ingesting more than enough fluoride without water fluoridation. Lee reported his findings in the Journal of Western Medicine:www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1129768/
Some 22,000 tons of fluoride-containing pesticides and fungicides are sprayed on Sonoma County crops each year, and some of that is absorbed from the air by local residents.  In addition, the fluoride content of foods and beverages has markedly increased since the 1970s.  And each brushing with fluoride toothpaste results in the absorption of about 1 mg. of fluoride.  So it would only make sense for the Sonoma County Department of Health Services to test local children before recommending water fluoridation.  Why has no one in the DHS thought of this?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 41 per cent of American children now suffer from dental fluorosis, the visible sign of systemic fluoride poisoning incurred before the age of eight.  The rate is much higher for African Americans and Latinos.
When fluoridation began in the 1940s, its advocates stated that a maximum rate of 10 per cent of children getting “mild” dental fluorosis would be an “acceptable” trade-off for decay reduction.  Now, in some areas, 17 per cent of African-American teens have “severe” dental fluorosis—where the teeth show dark stains and pitting and decay is difficult to repair.  A new study has linked dental fluorosis to reduced IQs, and a Harvard scientist is asking whether “prevention of chemical brain drain should be considered at least as important as protection against caries.”  braindrain.dk/2014/12/mottled-fluoride-debate/
It has never been established that fluoride is a neccesary nutrient.  There are no bodily processes that require fluoride, and many people living in areas with no fluoride in their water or diets have excellent teeth.  Oral health depends on a nutritious diet, adequate dietary minerals, especially calcium and magnesium, Vitamin D, and a lack of sugar.
Before adding a toxin to our water to reduce tooth decay in poor children, shouldn’t we find out if those children may already be getting enough or too much fluoride from their diets and environment?

In addition to the informed comments by Mariene, there's one little fact about the supposed 'community benefits' of fluoridation that you probably never thought about. There's a nasty little scam behind this practice that always sneaks in through the back door whenever fluoridation is being sold to us, the gullible public.

Fluoride proponents proclaim its alleged economic benefits to everyone - even, remarkably, for the toothless. They are especially keen to emphasise its value to the 'underpriviledged'. But have you ever taken a closer look at those reassuring 'cost-benefit analyses' that they publish to support these claims? Accounting scams, it seems, are not confined to bankers and the finance industry!

Using some 'best case' data from official sources here in England, I found that the supposed savings to the State in avoided dental costs through fluoridation, even if they exist at all, are at best minimal. It may save the average small town around a few thousand pounds a year. But what is never, ever, mentioned are the long term costs to the people themselves of treating just one of the adverse effects - dental fluorosis.

If these staggering hidden costs were to be included in the 'cost-benefit analyses', the whole scam would collapse around their heads. The advocates of community fluoridation would be facing liability suits that would send them racing for cover.

If you get dental fluorosis you face a very nasty choice. Either you ignore it, and put up with serious social and employment disadvantages. Or you pay for a lifetime’s expensive treatment, to hide the disfiguring condition. The commonest treatment, veneers, will set you back as much as US$50,000 over the years. Here in the UK, that's how much a University education costs. So for many thousands of kids it's the choice between keeping their mouth shut in public and getting a good education, or looking good but expecting to be living on welfare. And for the 'disadvantaged' - the poorer members of our communities - that's a selective disadvantage, not a benefit.

So who really does gain from fluoridation? Not the public - let's face it, the claimed positive effects are a sham. The ones who gain are the dentists themselves, the very people cheerfully recommending this practice to us. After all, they would, wouldn't they? They are the folk with the rigidly enforced monopoly on providing 'cosmetic' dental treatment for the very 'cosmetic' disease that their professional recommendation inflicts on the population. With the continued universal increase in fluoride overdose you have to admire the ingenuity of the profession in looking after its own, even if it's our teeth that suffer the consequences!
~ Doug Cross 

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