Fluoride and Fluoridation

fluoridation wordle 2As with the issue of mercury fillings, use of fluoride in dentistry is controversial. It is used in the belief that it helps to prevent tooth decay. No doubt it does that – a little. It is recommend by the dental profession for use in two different ways, topically and systemically.

Topical use means applied directly to the teeth. That is done in the dental office by a “fluoride treatment.” It is also done at home by the frequent use of fluoride toothpaste and sometimes by fluoride rinses or mouthwash.

For the last 60 years or so the dental profession has been enormously proud to advocate the use of added fluoride to municipal drinking water. That means you swallow the stuff and it gets into the bloodstream and circulates to all the body systems – i.e. a “systemic” route of administration.

The theory was that some of the fluoride ions in the blood, while dispersing throughout the entire body, would find their way into each developing tooth and “fortify” it even before it emerged (erupted) into the mouth. It was a plausible theory, but it’s wrong – a fact conceded nowadays even by those who advocate fluoridation – fluoride works topically, not systemically. it makes no sense to swallow the stuff. Yet they still advocate fluoridation!

Here are some links presenting opposing viewpoints:

1. Policy Statement of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario. (a .pdf file)

2. The Fluoride Deception – an interview with Christopher Bryson.

The above film outlines the history and “science” whereby fluoridation of our drinking water came to be commonplace. I do not support that public health policy.

3. Fluoridegate

This is a full length prize-winning documentary by David Kennedy, DDS.  The failure of US government agencies to protect the public is documented. Dr. Kennedy rightly points out that these agencies perceive that their job is to promote public health “policies.” At the same time they claim they are “science driven.”  But scientific method does not contain the concept of promoting policies. Indeed, “promoting policies” and “being scientific” are mutually exclusive. The result is government agencies which are willing to act in the public interest if and only if doing so does not challenge, or appear to challenge their sacrosanct policies.

 

Less clear, for me, is the wisdom of applying fluoride to teeth during professional office visits. So, unlike mercury fillings which I refuse to do, I simply do not often recommend topical fluoride treatments. Frankly, I can’t remember when I was last asked to do one.  If I did consent to do a fluoride treatment it would not be by means of a gel or foam, (usually delivered in a little U-shaped tray,) but via a fluoride varnish. This is a sticky, tree-sap-like fluoride-laden material that can be painted on the teeth. Such a delivery method involves a much lower total dose of fluoride to the body than does a “tray” full of foam or gel.

A few years ago, I wrote an article which was published in a magazine for integrated health practitioners called, not surprisingly, “Integrated Health Practitioners.”  You can access a .pdf of my article here.

If you are confused this contradictory advise from experts, what are you to do?  Please see the post

Confused by Conflicting Healthcare Advice?

 

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