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Dentists Cause Cavities

Sally Stride
September 14, 2001

American children consume so much fluoride that it may actually cause rather then prevent tooth decay.

A new study shows that, otherwise fluoride-free, South African children who drink naturally fluoridated water, at 3 parts per million (ppm), have more tooth decay than South African children drinking much lower concentrations, 0.48 ppm and 0.19 ppm fluoride, according to a September 2001 International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry.

"Significantly more children had decayed teeth in the high fluoride area than in the other two areas," write authors Grobler, et al. "The results suggest a positive association between high fluoride levels in the drinking water and dental caries (cavities)," they conclude. Tooth decay rates ranged from 1.54 drilled, missing or filled teeth (DMFT) in the low fluoride areas to 1.98 DMFT in the high fluoride area.

With virtually no dental care or fluoride therapy, these South African children have less tooth decay than fluoride-saturated American children. By comparison, American 12- to 18-year olds, had 3.08 DMFT, according to the Journal of the American Dental Association. African American children have even higher rates. Americans spent 56 billion dollars on dental care in 1999 - up 5.6% from 1998.

Neglecting poor diet, organized dentistry prescribes more and more fluoride, as the only antidote for cavities, in more and obscure ways without concern for individuals' total fluoride intake. Sadly, most dentists refuse to actually treat America's poorest who have over twice the decay rate as the non-poor. As a result, tooth decay is of epidemic proportions in the US poor and minority populations at the same time fluoride overdose, dental fluorosis, is growing in incidence and severity.

Cavities increase in people with severe fluorosis according to the dental textbook, "Dentistry, Dental Practice and the Community," by Burt and Eklund. But few practicing dentists seem to know this. Burt and Eklund explain that fluoride concentrations in drinking water, form a J-shaped curve. With increasing fluoride levels, cavity experience diminishes to a certain point and then starts to rise again. The true relationship between water fluoride levels and dental decay is the J-shaped curve, with the turning point in the J being something between 3 and 4 times the optimal level, they write. Studies show this level is already exceeded by many American children.

Besides the better known fluoridated dental products, American children are exposed to artificially and naturally fluoridated water, and the foods and beverages made with that water then sold in non-fluoridated areas as well. Some dental products like cements, filling and bonding materials, are little-known fluoride sources.

Medicines, ocean fish, tea, soy baby formulas, fruit juices and mechanically deboned meat products, and even soda are fluoride sources most dentists overlook. Air pollution, ocean mist, inhaled shower and humidifier steam add to a body's fluoride burden as does fluoride containing pesticide residues on fruits, vegetables and grains.

Look Ma! More Cavities!!

"Here in Toronto we've been fluoridating for 37 years. Yet Vancouver, which has never fluoridated, has a cavity rate lower than Toronto's," says Hardy Limeback, head of the Department of Preventive Dentistry, University of Toronto.

Despite decades of fluoridation, Connecticut, New York City, and Boston report oral health care crises.

Ireland is the only country in Europe to fluoridate most of its population (73%). Yet, Ireland ranks 6th in Europe in dental decay behind 4 countries that don't fluoridate and the 10% fluoridated UK. And non-fluoridated Norwegians, reportedly, enjoy good dental health.

Back here in America, after over 50 years of fluoridation and scrutiny, more severe fluorosis and more children's tooth decay occurs in fluoridated Newburgh, New York, than in never-fluoridated Kingston, New York, according to the NYS Department of Health.

Based on thirty years of study on .4 million children, Teotia and Teotia report "Our findings indicate that dental caries was caused by high fluoride and low dietary calcium intakes, separately and through their interactions," according to the journal, Fluoride.

In fact, according to the US Centers for Disease Control "The prevalence of dental caries in a population is not inversely related to the concentration of fluoride in enamel, and a higher concentration of enamel fluoride is not necessarily more efficacious in preventing dental caries." So what good is fluoride, after all?

Fluoridation gave organized dentistry long-desired but little earned credibility and respect in the 1950's. Dentists are still at the forefront of virtually every fluoridation initiative across the country. And fluoridation has given them political viability, according to their journals. But, it seems fluoride may only be giving our children more cavities. Bummer.

Last modified: 17 September 2001

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