Dentist’s Letter To Newspaper Editor Highlights Exaggerated ‘Positives’ Of Fluoridated Water

Posted on April 7, 2013

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Oregon (The Gaslamp Post) – The following is a letter to the editor of The Oregonian, in regards to the grossly overstated “positive” effects of fluoridated water on dental health.  Fluoride has long been suspected as a cause of some diseases as well as caused alarm since the discovery of some negative effects on human health.  Although in his professional opinion, fluoride in drinking water hasn’t been conclusively tied to any specific negative effect on health, he still insists on erroring on the side of caution.

The letter sent to the editor from a Portland area dentist reads as follows:

As a Portland dentist for 33 years, I’ve talked to many people about fluoride. Most think that the science supporting fluoridation of the water supply to reduce tooth decay is sound, but that some people oppose it because they worry about dangers that seem unlikely.

Actually, the scientific studies show that topical application of fluoride can significantly reduce tooth decay, but adding fluoride to the water supply has only a weak positive effect because little of it is applied topically to the teeth. Fluoridation of the water supply was one of the great public health successes of the 1950s, when child tooth decay was rampant in all segments of the population. Today, we live in a different world.

Because of public education about brushing and flossing, fluoridated toothpaste, sugarless gum and other innovations, child tooth decay is greatly reduced both in fluoridated and in non-fluoridated areas. It primarily occurs in low-income and minority communities, which can be easily targeted with a variety of preventive and interceptive treatments.

Therefore, instead of fluoridating all of our bodies and our entire ecosystem to reduce tooth decay in this small population, we could better use the $5 million needed to fluoridate Portland water to create jobs for dental hygienists to clean and seal teeth, teach kids how to brush and pass out fluoridated toothpaste to the at-risk population.

In addition, just because past studies have not proved that fluoride poses any dangers doesn’t mean that future studies won’t. For that reason, the common-sense application of the precautionary principle has led most of Europe to reject adding fluoride to water supplies and to use safer, more targeted treatments.

Fluoridating the water supply is an outdated method for controlling tooth decay, and I can’t understand why the Portland City Council approved it, in spite of previous electoral defeats.

JOHN SUMMER
Southwest Portland