Across the United States cities that have been fluoridated for decades are still facing dental health problems. Increasing access to care and prevention education is the only real solution to improving kids' dental health.
Instead of spending up to $7 million on a fluoridation plant and $500,000 or more a year on fluoridation chemicals, a comparable investment in increased access to care would better help at-risk kids while protecting the entire community from the health risks of fluoridation.
While fluoridation activists like to focus on Oregon's “untreated decay” rate, this rate highlights the real issue: a lack of good access to dental care.
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has stated that the School Fluoride Program and School Dental Sealant Program combined "can prevent almost 100% of cavites."
These proven programs are the best way to target children in need, but currently have limited availability. After Clean Water Portland highlighted this fact to the Portland City Council on February 13, the OHA within days deleted the text from its website. See screenshot of OHA site from February 10th.
Despite being largely fluoridated for decades Washington had among some of the highest untreated decay rates in the United States until efforts were made to increase access to care and prevention. Once those measures were put into place untreated decay rates among low-income preschoolers dropped by 50% within 5 years.1
The ineffectiveness of water fluoridation is also highlighted by the fact that since the 1950s, European countries without water fluoridation have seen cavity rate decreases at the same rate as the United States where fluoridation is common.
Fluoride works topically with little to no benefit from swallowing
For decades fluoridation activists claimed that fluoride needed to be swallowed in order to be effective. The current science, however, shows fluoride works topically, like in toothpaste, and there is little to no “systemic” benefit from swallowing. As the National Academy of Sciences recently explained,
"the major anti-caries benefit of fluoride is topical and not systemic."2
Drinking fluoridated water to protect against cavities is like swallowing sunscreen to prevent sunburn.
While fluoridation promoters claim there is a topical effect when water passes over a child’s teeth, there is no credible evidence that the concentrations of 0.7 mg/l in drinking water will have a topical effect similar to toothpaste which has fluoride concentrations that are up to 1000 times greater (ie. 1000 mg/l).
1. “Local View: Protecting kids’ smiles should be a priority,” Dr. Remy Eussen, April 24, 2011, Daily Columbian. http://www.columbian.com/news/2011/apr/24/protecting-kids-smiles-should-be-a-priority/