Fluoride has measurable benefits | AspenTimes.com

Fluoride has measurable benefits

Dear Editor:

The July 1 article on the City Council addressing the ever-present fluoride issue (“Fluoride stays in Aspen water”) lacked one whole side of the discussion. The opinions of neither the representative from the Colorado Department of Health nor me were included. For those of you who would like “the rest of the story,” read on!

Sixty years ago Grand Rapids, Mich., became the first American city to fluoridate their water. It was an emotional issue then and remains so. Fluoridation means adding sodium fluoride ” cousin to table salt, sodium chloride ” to the drinking water. When the fluoride ion is incorporated into the tooth’s crystalline structure during the developmental years, a 90 percent decay reduction occurs; significantly better than the 10 percent of topical application. This was erroneously reversed at the meeting.

The benefit to children spills over into adulthood. Those with fewer childhood cavities will later need fewer crowns and fewer root canals, and subsequently fewer problems than those with childhood decay. After 35 years of practicing in Aspen, I can empirically say that our kids and young adults have almost no dental disease. Ask the families if this is not a good return on the dollar.

While there is something to be said for each family being responsible for its own supplements, the fact remains that those who will least likely provide expensive dental treatment are also less likely to provide supplements. Fluoridation has been one of the most successful public health programs of our time. The speculation that a myriad of health problems might ensue has never been demonstrated in populations that have far exceeded the optimal dosage (Lubbock, Texas, and Colorado Springs) nor elsewhere.

The assertion that organizations such as the American Dental Association, to which I do not belong, the American Medical Association, World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, American Pediatric Association, etc., have a financial motive in fluoridation is patently absurd. In fact, I am quite proud to be part of a profession whose ultimate goal is to prevent the very conditions it treats.

David Swersky, DMD


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