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When it comes to fluoride, education is better than medication

Posted: 03/07/2010 01:30:31 AM PST
by David L. Biles

One might ask the question: what does it take to motivate a local dentist to publicly challenge the ongoing effort to fluoridate the Watsonville community? Easy answer: the truth, an element still missing from the public forum. "The truth is incontrovertible," Winston Churchill once claimed, "malice may attack it, ignorance deride it, but in the end, there it is." Such is the case here.

Contrary to the Sentinel's assertions of safety, water fluoridation has been found to be associated with increased incidence of hip fracture, bone cancer and reduced IQ in children. Other neurological impairments have been noted, including ADD and ADHD.

Recognizing fluoride's powerful impact on human biochemistry, even the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics agree that babies less than 6 months old should not receive any fluoride, yet formulas and baths will soon be fluoride-laden if the state has its way. How will busy parents of newborns find the time, energy, money and education necessary to protect the health of their children? What will happen to all of us at the other end of the age spectrum when every city in the USA is fluoridated?

Why do we proceed down this dangerous path, knowing that adding fluoride to the community water supply will not halt dental decay? Collectively analyzed, studies comparing decay rates in fluoridated vs. non-fluoridated communities have routinely shown conflicting results. Numerous un-fluoridated cities have demonstrated lower decay rates than comparable fluoridated communities so something else must be responsible. What might that be? Poverty and ignorance.

Poverty and ignorance are the culprits responsible for rampant dental decay, not the lack of fluoride in the water. That's where our efforts should be directed, not toward mass medicating the entire population in order to serve a few. Education, education, and more education on oral hygiene, diet, and habits, along with easier access to preventive care, are the ultimate solutions.

Looking at the bigger picture here from a completely different perspective, the California Dental Association Foundation is bullying an unwilling community with a state law they created. Moreover, the dental community has been denied access to the education necessary to evaluate the claims that fluoride in general, and community water fluoridation is harmful. A 2½ day course I attended in 1998 regarding these issues had the continuing education units rescinded and denied by the UCSD School of Medicine and the California Board of Dental Examiners, respectively, reducing attendance from hundreds to less than 20.

Shortly afterwards, as a long time board member of the Monterey Bay Dental Society, I proposed inviting David Kennedy, D.D.S. to give our local dentists a lecture on water fluoridation. The Board president informed me at the subsequent meeting that we, the Monterey Bay Dental Society, could not entertain an opposing view to water fluoridation because we were members of the American Dental Association and California Dental Association, who were staunch proponents of water fluoridation.

Dentists have been denied the education necessary to make a truly informed opinion regarding fluoride and community water fluoridation. They simply do not know the truth. Altruistic in aim, misguided in direction, led by many of our nations finest servants, the dental profession has been ambling down the wrong path. It is time to correct our direction from mass medication to mass education.

David Biles has practiced dentistry in Santa Cruz for 25 years and held positions as the Legislative chair, newsletter editor, and CalDPac representative for the Monterey Bay Dental Society from the early 1990s until 2003.