Preventionâ€™s fluoride article slanted and flawed
By DR. JERRY GORDON
"The Danger in Your Water" tries to undermine the stellar, 60 year track record of community water fluoridation. In fact, water fluoridation was heralded by the CDC in 1999 as â€œone of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th centuryâ€.
All you need to see is the title of the article in the August edition of Prevention magazine to see what direction it is heading. The article, "The Danger in Your Water" tries to undermine the stellar, 60 year track record of community water fluoridation. In fact, water fluoridation was heralded by the CDC in 1999 as â€œone of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th centuryâ€. Although the Prevention article made tepid references about fluorideâ€™s safety, the following excerpt is typical of the slanted tenor of the article: â€œPoison? Indeed, some forms of fluoride are used in high concentrations to kill rats and crop-eating insects. Municipal employees who add fluoridation chemicals to public water systems must wear protective clothing and respiratorsâ€.
The truth is that fluoride is not â€œpoisonâ€, and originates from a naturally occurring element called fluorine. Fluoride compounds are contained in rocks and soil, and form fluoride ions when water passes over them. Fluoride is present to some degree in all water sources, foods and beverages. Fluoride helps to prevent cavities when used in two ways: topically and systemically. Topical (on the surface) application of fluoride occurs with the use of fluoride containing toothpaste, mouthrinses, professionally applied gels, foams, rinses, and from our own saliva. Topical use of fluoride helps to prevent cavities by strengthening the surface of the teeth (the enamel), and by re-mineralizing forming dental cavities.
Systemically (throughout the body), fluoride is obtained when ingested via water and other beverages, foods, drops, tablets, and other sources. A major function of fluoride taken systemically is the strengthening of developing teeth from infancy to adolescence. The main problem with the Prevention article is that it focuses on problems associated with excess consumption of fluoride, and then minimizes the value of the recommended amount. The article also drew fire from the American Dental Association (ADA): The Prevention article, the ADA leaders say, mischaracterizes a report released in March by the National Research Council (NRC). Prevention's story says an expert panel assembled by NRC "determined that the level of fluoride allowed in community drinking water in this country is too high." In fact, the ADA leaders note, the NRC report focused exclusively on the maximum level of "naturally occurring" fluoride in drinking water and not on community water fluoridationâ€”the process of adding fluoride to water. (http://ada.org/prof/resources/pubs/adanews/adanewsarticle.asp?articleid=2026)
Mass water fluoridation (addition of fluoride to community water supplies) is the most cost-effective measure available to reduce the incidence of tooth decay. The Environmental Protection Agency has determined that the acceptable tap water concentration for fluoride is 0.7 to 1.2 parts per million. Numerous studies and more than 100 organizations in the United States and around the world have proven that fluoridated water at these levels reduces the incidence of cavities in children and adults from 25-60% or more. www.TheDentalComfortZone.com