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The facts support fluoride in water

Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to members of Aspen City Council.

Dear Editor:

As many of you know, I have spoken at least five times strongly in favor of continued fluoridation of the Aspen water supply.

Following are some bullet points on the subject started many years ago by the venerable, late Dr. Bill Comcowich. In his memorable words: You will hear a lot of information tonight. One must first evaluate if it is true and if it is relevant.

Claim: Fluoridation only helps children. While there will be fewer decayed teeth in children, this translates to fewer large fillings in adults, therefore fewer crowns, fewer root canals, fewer implants and less periodontal disease. The benefit lasts a lifetime.

Claim: Every family should take this responsibility. In an ideal world, yes. The truth is that those less likely to receive regular quality dental care are also less likely to administer preventive treatment. Fluoridation has been the most effective public health measure ever. For less than $1 per person per day, it is our moral responsibility to help these people.

Claim: Just use fluoride toothpastes, rinses, etc. Trace amounts of fluoride if available during teeth’s formative years are incorporated into the crystalline structure of enamel, making it many times less soluble in decay-causing acid. (You have seen my chemical equation charts in the past.) Toothpastes, rinses and gels provide approximately 10 percent decay reduction, while supplementary fluoride provides 90 percent decay reduction. Come see it in any Aspen dental office when the kids come home for spring break.

Claim: Too much fluoride causes flourosis. True. Look at the teeth of those from Lubbock, Texas, or Colorado Springs in the 1940s and ’50s. Their teeth were stained due to many, many times the optimum dosage of naturally occurring fluoride. This is how it was discovered and has been used ever since. The amount was adjusted, and they still have the benefit.

Claim: Lower IQ, osteoporosis, digestive problems, mental problems, etc. Most of these fit into the category of Michele Bachmann’s claim that a friend’s daughter became cognitively compromised following a human papillomavirus, or HPV, vaccination. There is no concrete evidence. If there were, we could have expected to see those in Lubbock and Colorado Springs being afflicted with many of these conditions at a much greater rate than the population at large. Never happened.

Why, then, would the American Medical Association, American Pediatric Association, Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization and the American Dental Association endorse this?

And why would a group of Aspen dentists with large overheads in a declining consumer environment want to reduce their potential incomes?

Because it is the right thing to do, and I am personally proud to have been (and continue to be) in a profession for 43 years that puts prevention of the conditions we treat as our top priority.

My recommendation: Augment the natural 0.3 parts per million now in the water to the recommended 0.7 parts per million. There should be no loss in effectiveness.

One final note: I love chiropractors and see them regularly to alleviate back problems caused largely by bending over while having treated too many compromised teeth.

David Swersky, DMD

Aspen


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