Letter: Fluoridation, myth vs. fact
As many of you know, I have spoken at least five times before the Aspen City Council regarding the continued fluoridation of the Aspen water supply. Each time, the practice was continued unanimously. In fact, circa 1989, there was a public referendum that passed with 79 percent approval.
When evaluating this emotionally charged issue, one must first decide if the information is true and, secondly, relevant.
I would like to address some of the myths one by one.
Myth: Fluoridation only helps children.
Reality: While this is true, less decay as a child means fewer fillings, therefore, as an adult, fewer crowns, fewer root canals, leading to fewer fractured teeth, leading, perhaps, to expensive implants. The benefit lasts a lifetime.
Myth: Each family should take on this responsibility.
Reality: Unfortunately, in the real world, those who can least afford expensive dental treatment are least likely to supply their children with supplements.
Myth: There is plenty of fluoride available in tooth paste and rinses.
Reality: Topical fluoride can claim approximately 7 percent decay reduction. When available in trace amounts during the formative years, the fluoride ion is incorporated into the crystalline structure of enamel (calcium-hydroxy-appatite). It forms as calcium-flouro-appatite, which is approximately 10 times less soluble in acid, which is how dental caries occur. The reduction in caries is approximately 90 percent.
Myth: Fluoride is responsible for almost every known medical condition known to man, including, but not limited to, osteoporosis, kidney dysfunction, circulatory problems, reproductive issues. Somehow psoriasis and ingrown toe nails escaped this list.
Reality: If this were true, we would expect to see greatly increased incidence of these conditions is areas that had many times the recommended concentration. In the 1950s, Lubbock, Texas, and Colorado Springs had no greater incidence of any of these conditions than the population at large. They did have discolored teeth (fluorosis) but the only other effect was no dental caries. Incidentally, the concentrations were adjusted and they still have the preventive results with no fluorosis. This was the start of water fluoridation.
Dental disease has been linked to many systemic conditions, especially cardiovascular.
Myth: Lowered IQ.
Reality: This one is so absurd, I had to grant it its own category. How could scientists possibly construct a double blind study with thousands of participants, over many years, to prove or disprove this claim?
Why then would every major health organization including the World Health Organization, American Medical Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Pediatric Association and American Dental Association endorse fluoridation?
Furthermore, why would all the local dentists with large overheads to carry want to reduce their potential incomes? Is there a conflict of interest I am not seeing? Resoundingly, no. Dentists have always been proud of our commitment of prevention first and treatment when necessary.
Having practiced here for 43 years and having treated three generations of many families, I see the results every day. Public fluoridation has been one of the most effective public health measures in our history.
The Dental Offices of John Miller and David Swersky
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