Water Fluoridation and Your Dentist: Talking to Dentists and Patients About Fluoride in Water

, Telling It Like It IsA lengthy article about water fluoridation in the January 1, 2013 issue of the Journal of American Dental Association (JADA) magazine caught my attention. The article is entitled “The Dentist’s Role in Promoting Community Water Fluoridation – A Call to Action for Dentists and Educators”, written by authors Molly L.R. Melbye, DDS and Jason M. Armfield, PhD.

This post is directed towards dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, office managers, and dental patients. Call it “An Open Letter to All Dentists, Dental Hygienists and Staff”, if you will. As dental professionals, we owe it to patients to provide them accurate and informative advice about their health, specifically in regards to oral health. But, we also advise dental patients about the overall health effects of smoking, tobacco use, cutting down their consumption of sugars etc, do we not?

Dental patients hire a dentist to care for their oral health needs. We, as dental professionals, work for the patients. Patients do not work for us. Dentists and hygienists, once hired by patients, are expected [assumed] to be well educated and knowledgeable about matters relating to oral health, dental care, necessary treatment options and so on, in order to provide optimal care for those who have placed their faith and trust in our abilities to care for their needs. Right?

The JADA article mentioned above is strongly urging dentists to become active in promoting water fluoridation to their patients, and becoming politically active in their communities in support of water fluoridation at various types of dental meetings, forming advocacy groups, etc. Dentists are urged to talk to patients about water fluoridation, and to display promotional pamphlets about fluoridation in their offices, right along with all of the other types of dental pamphlets commonly found in dental offices. Dentists are to also involve their staff, including dental hygienists, in promoting water fluoridation to patients and also participate in political events within their local communities in support of the practice of fluoridating community water supplies.

The dental journal says dentists are NOT knowledgeable, and are actually quite ignorant, about the science behind fluoridation. Dentists, hygienists and office staff, are you virtually clueless about water fluoridation and the science behind the practice? The journal article suggests that you are likely not well educated nor informed, and are not at all well-equipped to deal with patient questions and responses about water fluoridation.

To compensate for dentists inadequate understanding of fluoride science, the article encourages dentists to use “political campaigns” and their “reputation with the public” to promote and endorse fluoridation, saying, “Advocacy through dental societies, such as participation in lobbying efforts, also may be an effective way for dentists to promote water fluoridation.”

Dentists, if you rely on your public reputation or prestige in the community to promote fluoridation without first becoming fully informed of the scientific facts yourself, then what is your reputation really worth anyway?

In a 1979 White paper, the ADA’s Council on Dental Health and Health Planning issued this unprofessional and insulting advice:

“Individual dentists must be convinced that they need not be familiar with scientific reports and field investigations on fluoridation to be effective participants and that non- participation is overt neglect of professional responsibility.”

Really?! Excuse me?! As dental professionals, entrusted by dental patients to care for their needs, it is inexcusable and professionally irresponsible for dentists in particular NOT to be familiar and completely convinced of the safety and efficacy of everything related to the profession! The JADA article even includes an 11-point message box image of exactly what (unwitting, unfamiliar with all the scientific facts about fluoride, ignorant and virtually clueless) dentists should tell patients about water fluoridation. You know, because it’s just easier and less time-consuming for dentists to let others tell them what to think, say and do, rather than dentists proving to themselves the truth and facts through individual and independent study and research. Not to mention common sense.

Dentists and Hygienists: Are you aware of the fact that there have been 36 published scientific studies since 1991 that “found an association between fairly modest exposure to fluoride and lowered IQ. In one of the studies (Ding et al., 2011), the researchers found IQ lowered in children drinking water ranging from 0.3 to 3 ppm, and that the higher the level of fluoride in the urine (a measure of fluoride exposure) the lower the IQ. In addition, Harvard researchers in a systematic review of 27 of these IQ studies concluded that effect on children’s developing brains should be a ‘high research priority’ especially in the US which has never investigated brain/fluoride effects.”

An expert panel of scientists reviewed fluoride’s toxicology for the National Research Council (NRC) and released a landmark report in 2006 entitled “Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards“. The panel found that the maximum contaminant level for fluoride permitted in drinking water is NOT protective of human health and that infants, children, and several other subsets of the U.S. population are being over-exposed. The panel noted the following adverse effects from this overexposure: broken bones, pre-clinical skeletal fluorosis which manifests as arthritic-type pain, and severe dental fluorosis.

Dentists/Hygienists: If you have not taken the time needed to diligently and fully research and educate yourselves on the scientific and factual details about the “pros and cons” of fluoride in water, what right do you have to endorse and/or promote the practice to your patients when you know not of what you speak?

Patients: Your personal dentist, that you have hired to care for your dental needs, may likely begin talking about and promoting water fluoridation during your dental appointments. Since dentists and hygienists are largely unprepared and not at all knowledgeable about the science behind water fluoridation, you must be.

Remember, your dentist works for you, you hired your dentist with the expectation and trust that he/she knows what’s best for your oral needs, and that of your children and family. Is that expectation and trust well placed, when the Dental Association article in JADA clearly states that dentists know next to nothing about the science of fluoridation but urges them to promote the practice anyway?

Questions About Fluoride and Fluoridated Water

Dentists, hygienists, PATIENTS, parents, dental office staff members, below are some questions about fluoride in water that each and every one of you should know the full, accurate, honest and truthful answers to. If you dental professionals are truly deserving of your patient’s faith and trust, then you will make sure to PROVE to yourselves what water fluoridation is and consists of, by fully examining the science behind the long held practice.

Dentist Caree Alexander, a former Navy practitioner who also had a private dental practice for 20 years, in the documentary FIRE WATER: Australia’s Industrial Fluoridation Disgrace, says “When I graduated from University, we weren’t given any information about where [fluoride] came from, we all assumed it was [pharmaceutical-grade] calcium fluoride.”

“Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.” (1 Thess. 5:21-22). Examine everything. Examine everything means to test everything to see that it is genuine and true, to discover for ourselves between what is true and false, rather than simply parroting what we’ve been taught to believe.

Prove. It. To. Yourself. Critical Thinking 101!

If patients, parents, dentists and dental staff know and fully understand the truthful answers to these 15 questions about water fluoridation, then and only then can meaningful discussion be had as to whether dental professionals endorsing and promoting water fluoridation is a good idea or not.

  • What do you really know about water fluoridation?
  • Where does the fluoride come from that is used in fluoridating community water supplies?
  • Is the fluoride pharmaceutical grade or are there other substances in the compound, and if so, where do I find an official list of these?
  • How many kinds of fluoride are there?
  • How many are naturally occurring fluorides, and how many are manmade?
  • Why is there a poison warning on the back of fluoride toothpaste tubes?
  • How do you define “safe” in regards to fluoride in water, or fluoride toothpaste?
  • How much fluoride is too much fluoride for an infant, toddler, teen or adult?
  • How does fluoride affect a person internally, their brain and organs, not just their teeth?
  • What is the optimum daily dose of fluoridated water, in order to ensure too much is not consumed?
  • Where can I find a complete list of fluoride sources and amounts in toothpaste, food and beverages, water, dentifrices etc, to determine the total exposure to fluoride?
  • Why are parents recommended to NOT use fluoridated water when mixing powdered baby formulas?
  • Where do I find published scientific reports proving that teeth in fluoridated communities really are better than teeth in unfluoridated areas?
  • Why does the EPA say fluoride is a “chemical with substantial evidence of developmental neurotoxicity”?
  • What does the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say about fluoride?

Dental patients, whether or not your personal dentist or hygienist talks to you directly or to a family member about water fluoridation being a good thing or a bad thing, you are responsible for your own health and your young children’s health – so prove to yourselves what the facts are.

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