Friday, 29 June 2007

American Dental Association warns on fluoride

The American Dental Association, which has for many years been one of fluoride's biggest advocates, alerted its members late last year that parents of infants younger than a year old "should consider using water that has no or low levels of fluoride" when mixing baby formula. Read more here.

Monday, 11 June 2007

Dental Survey - response to the promotion of fluoride

This is the response below that one anti-fluoridation campaigner got to the recent Dental Survey (see blog for 21st May) when they noted that the survey appeared to be promoting fluoride, albeit in an oblique way by suggesting brushing teeth with fluoride toothpaste.....

Thank you for your email and interest in the survey.

Brushing twice-a-day with fluoride toothpaste is generally accepted by all dental professionals as the most important part of any good oral healthcare routine. It is particularly important for children because it strengthens the enamel as it forms, making the teeth more resistant to decay.

Like most UK and world health organisations the Foundation fully supports the introduction of fluoride to the water supply as a proven method of reducing tooth decay – something that affects half of five year olds here in Britain.

Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in all water. Some areas are lucky enough to have a natural water supply of one part fluoride per million – the optimum level. These areas have lower rates of tooth decay. However, some areas are not so lucky and the Foundation supports the view that adding fluoride to areas with a low fluoride count in their water supply would give everyone an equal chance of avoiding tooth decay – no matter where they live.

There is no evidence to suggest that water fluoridation is linked to any general health conditions, despite a large number of reputable scientific studies (seeNHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination at York University in 2000 and the Medical Research Council in 2002). Furthermore fluoride has been added to the drinking water in Birmingham since 1964 and the only noticeable effect has been a reduction in tooth decay.

The only other argument against adding water fluoridation is – as you yourself state - that it could be perceived as a form of ‘mass medication’ and, therefore, an infringement of civil liberty.

However, the fact that all water is treated for bacteria before it reaches our taps makes this something of a non-argument. The addition of chemicals to our water supply to prevent illness is seen as common sense – and that is exactly what water fluoridation is.

While we agree wholeheartedly with your view that children should be encouraged to eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables and avoiding sugary snacks, the reality is that, in many cases, this simply does not happen.

Adding fluoride to the water supply has been scientifically proven to reduce tooth decay and would even provide significant protection for children and adults who do not, or cannot afford to, maintain a good oral healthcare routine themselves.

It would be single most important and successful measure to improve UK oral health that this country could take and, therefore, the Foundation fully supports it.

British Dental Health Foundation

This provoked a response from another member which I also enclose below (apols but this is the draft version - I can't get his final version to copy here at the moment):

I can’t let this message pass without comment. I am not a member of the dental profession. My background is in industrial technology and education but I have researched the subject of fluoride and fluoridation insofar as it has been promoted as a dental health benefit for the past fifty years.

I propose to comment in your paragraphed order.

Brushing twice a day – I find no fault in this, but I would like to see the habit extended to three or more times a day; before, as well as after, meals. I would like to see every child who carries a mobile phone to carry also a toothbrush. Every child of school age should have a toothbrush in his or her pencil case. Designer toothbrushes would help motivate sales and personal pride in frequent use. Brushing without water and toothpaste is also beneficial, so too is the discreet use of toothpicks.

Like most UK and world health organisations… - Do be careful here. The UK Department of Health certainly does support the fluoridation of water supplies but the World Health Organisation approves fluoridation only on condition that a preliminary survey of fluorides from all sources has been carried out in the area or community for which the scheme is proposed. This is in recognition of fluorine compounds being a hazard to general health. The WHO in fact sponsored a Swedish study over a 25 year period across the countries of Europe (including the UK) which plotted a general decline in tooth decay except where fluoridation schemes had been introduced. To claim that fluoridation is a proven method of reducing tooth decay calls for more questions to be asked. To date there have been few convincing answers from those who purport to hold sway in public health interests.

Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in all water - Sorry, but fluoride is not a mineral; it is the natural element Fluorine (a toxic gas) in compound with one or a number of other elements. In some (but by no means all) groundwater sources, it is in compound with Calcium. Very few natural sources contain Calcium fluoride at a concentration as high as one part per million. This may be verified easily by looking at the labels on retailed spring water. Fluoride, where it appears, is usually listed as <0.2mg.> Wrong again, unless you take as gospel the outcome of the York Review conducted at the NHS Centre for reviews and Disseminations mentioned further along in your text. Yes, we know Birmingham has been fluoridated since 1964, but while tooth decay may have been temporarily reduced among the target groups of children, that city holds the national record for hip fractures. It is important not to overlook the link between these two health conditions. Fluoride robs the human bone matrix of Calcium; I don’t need to spell out the consequences. The antagonistic relationship between fluoride and iodine is the precursor to numerous cases of Hypothyroidism. This has been documented worldwide, the most notable source being the PFPC (Parents of Fluoride Poisoned Children). The reason for this information not being available to the team conducting the York Review was due to the Government (or the DoH) suppressing all negative research which would have cast doubt upon the long-standing proposition that fluoridation was effective at preventing tooth decay.

Claimed to be systematic and scientific, the York Review should answer Yes to the first proposition, but No to the second. Its open-ended web site attracted massive ridicule from internationally respected experts including Nobel Prizewinners.

The only other argument … I doubt that this would be the only one, but since you have raised it, mass-medication is not a civil liberty; it is an individual liberty. Medication is a one to one relationship between a patient and a medical specialist. My diagnosis, treatment and medication for me; and yours for you, started, monitored, regulated and eventually (we hope) stopped. There can be no argument about this and the European Convention on Human Rights confirms the position. Common sense is irrelevant.

Yes, water is treated to kill bacteria; we all accept that under the terms of the original Water Act to ensure the supply of ‘a clean and potable product’.We have not had a tradition of adding chemicals to (allegedly) prevent illness until fluoridation was promoted by the USA post-war as a means of disposing of non-biodegradable nuclear processing chemical which could not be land-filled or dumped at sea. The ‘magic bullet for children’s teeth’ concept was a federal exercise in scape-goating.

The encouragement of children to eat a healthy balanced diet doesn’t produce the desired result largely because the media resources and the health and education services have not been financed and briefed to target the problem. That will not happen where the true motive for fluoridation – the disposal of a waste product – is being shrouded in secrecy and camouflaged as a health issue. Have you noticed that the subject is never featured in live media discussions? Uncommitted writers who scratch the surface receive little official feedback, positive or negative.

Adding fluoride to the water supply has been scientifically proven to reduce tooth decay. I’m sorry, but it hasn’t. If that had been the case, why was a huge measure of the science deliberately excluded from consideration by the York Review team? By ‘huge’ I mean tens of thousands of peer-reviewed studies from world-wide sources. The reason was that too much of the truth relating to serious health conditions like cancer, hypothyroidism, arthritis, renal failure not to mention the socially repulsive dental fluorosis portending the skeletal fluorosis acknowledged in a Commons answer by Baroness Hayman to a question posed by Lord Baldwin, would have seriously embarrassed those scores of professionals who had pinned their reputations to it. The window of opportunity for compensation claims against the Government is another ‘sticky wicket’ which would be best avoided at all costs.

It would be the single most important and successful measure… It would be probably the most important because it would be (and is) illegal. The fact that fluorosilicic acid is being administered indiscriminately to 6 million British citizens, with a recent call for a further 12 million to be added to the tally, changes nothing. It contravenes European law to which our outgoing leader, Prime Minister Tony Blair, a man with legal training, has committed us. Under the European Biomedicines Convention, the patient is always referred to in the singular.

There can be no question of mass medication even if the appalling nature of the fluoridating agent precludes it from qualifying as a medicament.

I was amazed, recently, to hear a leading figure in the dental profession declare on Radio 4 that sugar and sugary foods were the cause of children’s tooth decay. Not a word was said about fluoride as a prophylactic.

A proposition published many years ago in one of the newsletters of the National Pure Water Association suggested that while Aspirin, taken daily, was said to be good for the prevention of heart disease and would be likely to reduce the incidence of minor illnesses and absence from work, the reason why it had not been considered for mass distribution via our water supplies was that Aspirin is not a dangerous industrial waste product looking for a profitable use. Silicofluoride, of course, is precisely that; with no opt-out under individual diagnosis of fluorine sensitivity; or for kidney dialysis patients, diabetics and others needing to drink excessive quantities of water, allegedly for the treatment of a condition (tooth decay) which is neither contagious, nor life-threatening and can be quickly brought under control.

I sincerely hope, that by throwing a more balanced light upon your perception of the fluoride debate, I have adjusted your thinking on the subject.

Yours, with the best of intentions,

Bernard J Seward

Ps If you would like a copy of my submission to the Bio-ethics Committee of the Nuffield Foundation, I will be pleased to e-mail a copy to you.