OPED: Benefits of water fluoridation are evident

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MEEKER | My name is Kari Brennan. I am a dental hygienist in Meeker, Colorado. Due to the recent ballot initiative concerning Rangely’s water fluoridation system in the upcoming April ballot, I would like to share some information with you so that you may make an educated vote. We just had this on our ballot in Meeker last November and I feel compelled to speak to Rangely on the matter. Quality research and understanding all aspects of water fluoridation is important. Two helpful links I encourage you to research are https://ilikemyteeth.org/fluoridation/ and https://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/index.html . These links can help you better understand what water fluoridation is and why many communities are for or against it. Wikipedia and Google are not always credible resources in contrast to actual accredited research and information.

Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by defending your teeth against plaque, bacteria and sugar in your mouth. For young children, fluoride helps strengthen their teeth while they are still developing, but adults can benefit from this treatment as well. Fluoride is absorbed into the enamel of your teeth, and replenishes calcium and phosphorus to keep your teeth hard. Fluoride can reduce cavities in patients of any age, as well as repair the early stages of tooth decay, even before it’s visible. Using a fluoride toothpaste, drinking fluoridated water and visiting a dental office every six months can help make sure you are receiving the proper amount of fluoride to keep your teeth healthy.

I would like to share a story. A few years ago I became familiar with a pediatric doctor who practiced for many years in Glenwood Springs and their water is fluoridated. She moved her practice to Rifle, whose water had not been fluoridated for many years. She noticed a significant increase in tooth decay among her young patients. She, nor I, am saying the rampant tooth decay noted is due solely to lack of water fluoridation but it’s an obvious contributor. There are many studies available showing the difference in tooth decay rates among communities with water fluoridation compared to non-fluoridated water communities. The communities with non-fluoridation show a much higher rate of tooth decay disease. Sources out there saying fluoride is poisonous and causes other risks use references that are from third world countries that have areas high in fluorine and not regulated so the amounts are not in moderation and yes, these areas are dangerous.

Fluoride has a bad reputation to some people, but fully understanding that in moderation and properly regulated, everything, including water fluoridation, can be very beneficial. Drinking too much water can be poisonous, so we drink the right amounts that are researched and recommended and we benefit from that. Chlorine is added to the water in our treatment facilities and yet you don’t see a big hype about it. People know it’s dangerous in high or concentrated amounts, but properly regulated and properly injected into our water, it’s safe and effective. Many people may not always trust professionals but I am a professional in the dental field and I see day in and day out the ramifications and negative effects of my patients’ oral and systemic health when their dental care lacks. I’m not saying I have all the answers, but I do have years of experience and expertise in the matter.

By KARI BRENNAN | Special to the HT

8 Comments

  1. The science showing that fluoride is harmful to health is not the only problem. There is the morality
    and ethics of forcing a drug on EVERYONE without consent.

    A doctor or a dentist cannot force a drug on ANYONE. They would lose the right to practice if they did.
    A city bureaucrat should not be allowed to do so either. To force EVERYONE to consume a drug,
    fluoride,is immoral and should be illegal.

  2. Anti-science activists like nyscof manipulate reality, use twitter and reference anti-F propaganda as their replacement for “modern science” since they don’t actually have any legitimate, relevant scientific evidence that proves their opinions that fluoride at optimal exposure levels (0.7 ppm in drinking water and 1,000-1,500 ppm in toothpaste) is harmful to health or ineffective at reducing the risk of dental decay.

    In fact, modern science, like the science from more than 70 years ago, continues to confirm the fact that fluoridation is a safe and effective public health measure.
    https://cyber-nook.com/water/fluoridationInformation-Reviews.html

    FOs, like anti-vaccination activists, have no rational explanation for two critical facts:
    1) Virtually all (over 100) major science and health organizations in the world (with hundreds of thousands of members) support the scientific consensus that fluoridation/vaccination are safe and effective public health measures to protect health.
    2) There are no such science or health groups that support the anti-F or anti-Vax opinions. The only anti-F support comes from a few outlier science/health “experts”, a handful of alternative “health” organizations like the IAOMT, vocal activist groups like the CHD (with an anti-vax agenda) and some conspiracy theory fanatics like Alex Jones [INFOWARS], David Icke [Son of the Godhead] and Mike Adams [Natural News]. Extremely strong opinions and vocal arguments can’t hide the lack of legitimate scientific support for the anti-F opinions.

  3. Dear Ms Breenen. I feel I need to correct some of your statements.
    1. “For young children, fluoride helps strengthen their teeth while they are still developing, but adults can benefit from this treatment as well”.
    There re no quality studies to show that is true. Even the CDC says that fluoride works topically (affecting teeth after they erupt into the mouth)
    2. “Fluoride is absorbed into the enamel of your teeth, and replenishes calcium and phosphorus to keep your teeth hard. ”
    Absolutely incorrect. please study more of the biochemistry of how fluoride interacts with tooth enamel and plaque.
    3. “Fluoride can reduce cavities in patients of any age”
    There isn’t a single high quality study that convincingly shows that fluoridation works past the teen years. The evidence that fluoridation even works at all today with widespread use of fluoridated toothpaste is very weak and not reliable.
    4. “The communities with non-fluoridation show a much higher rate of tooth decay disease.” Wrong. The differences are nearly clinically irrelevant, saving maybe one filling per teen over 20 years of fluoridation (if you trust the unblinded, non-randomized cross-sectional studies. Your story about the pediatric Doctor in Rifle seeing more dental decay is anecdotal and cannot be used in any scientific comparison.
    5. “Sources out there saying fluoride is poisonous and causes other risks use references that are from third world countries that have areas high in fluorine and not regulated”. There a now dozens, if not hundreds, of studies on water fluoridation in ‘regulated’ North America being linked to harmful effects in teeth (you should know that) and other human tissues.

  4. Ok, now let’s correct your statements, Dr. Limeback:

    1. “There are no quality studies to show that [fluoride strengthens developing teeth] is true.

    Yes, there are, indeed, such quality studies:

    A. “Evidence also supports fluoride’s systemic mechanism of caries inhibition in pit and fissure surfaces of permanent first molars when it is incorporated into these teeth pre-eruptively.”

    —Buzalaf MAR (ed): Fluoride and the Oral Environment. Monogr Oral Sci. Basel, Karger, 2011, vol 22, pp 97–114

    B. Information on the pre-eruptive effects of water fluoridation has been reviewed, suggesting that fluoridation should start at birth to provide optimal protection to primary teeth. At 15 years of age, the maximum DMFS reduction in a fluoridated area was due about half to the pre-eruptive and about half to the post-eruptive effect of fluoride.

    Caries Res. 1993;27 Suppl 1:2-8.
    Efficacy of preventive agents for dental caries. Systemic fluorides: water fluoridation.
    Murray JJ

    2. “Even the CDC says that fluoride works topically (affecting teeth after they erupt into the mouth)”

    In a 2001 report often misrepresented by fluoridation opponents, the CDC states that the effects of fluoride are predominately topical, not that they are only topical.

    Recommendations for Using Fluoride to Prevent and Control Dental Caries in the United States
    United States Centers for Disease Control
    Recommendations and Reports
    August 17, 2001/50(RR14);1-42

    The reality is that the effects of fluoride are both topical and systemic.

    A. “Conclusions: While 6-year-old children who had not ingested fluoridated water showed higher dft in theWF-ceased area than in the non-WF area, 11-year-old children in theWF-ceased area who had ingested fluoridated water for approximately 4 years after birth showed significantly lower DMFT than those in the non-WF area. This suggests that the systemic effect of fluoride intake through water fluoridation could be important for the prevention of dental caries.”

    —–Systemic effect of water fluoridation on dental caries prevalence
    Cho HJ, Jin BH, Park DY, Jung SH, Lee HS, Paik DI, Bae KH.
    Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 2014; 42: 341–348.

    B. “Evidence also supports fluoride’s systemic mechanism of caries inhibition in pit and fissure surfaces of permanent first molars when it is incorporated into these teeth pre-eruptively.”

    —Buzalaf MAR (ed): Fluoride and the Oral Environment. Monogr Oral Sci. Basel, Karger, 2011, vol 22, pp 97–114
    (DOI:10.1159/000325151)

    3. “There isn’t a single high quality study that convincingly shows that fluoridation works past the teen years.”

    This is false.

    A. “Participants who accessed fluoridate water 75% of their lifetime with residential access to fluoridated water. Participants living between 50% and 75% and 75% of their lifetime, respectively. Longer residential lifetime access to fluoridated water was associated with less dental caries even in a context of multiple exposures to fluoride.”

    Access to Fluoridated Water and Adult Dental Caries: A Natural Experiment
    M.A. Peres, K.G. Peres, P.R. Barbato, …
    April 6, 2016
    J Dental Research

    B. “In this nationally representative sample of Australian adults, caries-preventive effects of water fluoridation were at least as great in adults born before widespread implementation of fluoridation as after widespread implementation of fluoridation.”

    Effects of Fluoridated Drinking Water on Dental Caries in Australian Adults
    G.D. Slade*, A.E. Sanders, L. Do, …
    March 1, 2013
    J Dental Research

    C. Conclusion: Early life access to fluoridated water was not as strongly associated with caries outcomes than either full lifetime access or access across the more proximal years with the caries outcome of young adults, especially after adjustment for covariates which may become increasingly important across longer spans of the life course.

    Preventive benefit of access to fluoridated water for young adults
    J Public Health Dentistry 2017
    John Spencer, MDSc, PhD; Pingzhou Liu, PhD; Jason Mathew Armfield, BA, PhD; Loc Giang Do, DDS, PhD

    4. “The evidence that fluoridation even works at all today with widespread use of fluoridated toothpaste is very weak and not reliable.”

    The top quality journals which have published the volume of studies clearly demonstrating the effectiveness of fluoridation in both adults and children, along with the peer-reviewers of these studies, would likely disagree with your personal opinion that their results are “weak and not reliable”.

    5. “The differences are nearly clinically irrelevant, saving maybe one filling per teen over 20 years of fluoridation (if you trust the unblinded, non-randomized cross-sectional studies”

    The CDC reports a 25% reduction in dental decay resultant of fluoridation. This is in addition to that obtained from all other preventive measures.

    While the “one filling” is a misrepresentative manipulation of statistics, even if it were true, one untreated cavity in one tooth can result in lifetimes of extreme pain, debilitation, black discoloration and loss of teeth, development of serious medical conditions, and life-threatening infection. People can, and do, die as a direct result of but one untreated cavity in one tooth.

    This is hardly irrelevant, “clinically” or otherwise.

    6. “There a now dozens, if not hundreds, of studies on water fluoridation in ‘regulated’ North America being linked to harmful effects in teeth (you should know that) and other human tissues.”

    As aptly stated by New Zealand chemist, Ken Perrott, PhD:

    “They [anti-fluoride activists] simply wildly exaggerate their claims – for example, they claim there are hundreds of studies showing that fluoride lowers the IQ of children but never mention that the overwhelming majority of those studies were made in areas of endemic fluorosis so are just not relevant to CWF”

    “There is only a very small handful of studies possibly suggesting health problems from CWF. But all these are weak, suffer from poor statistical analysis or have produced conflicting and contradictory results. I mention some of these recent studies in my article What are the recent fluoride-IQ studies really saying about community water fluoridation?”

    No, a new study from Ethiopia does not indicate fluoridation is bad for your bones
    Open Parachute
    3/16/2020

    Steven D. Slott, DDS

  5. Nyscof:

    The “Children’s Health Defense” , you cite, is an activist group that also opposes vaccinations. Enough said.

    Steven D. Slott, DDS

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