British Dental Journal 216, 2 (2014)
Published online: 10 January 2014 | doi:10.1038/sj.bdj.2013.1240

Fluoridation: Re-fluoridate yourself

A. McKay1

Send your letters to the Editor, British Dental Journal, 64 Wimpole Street, London, W1G 8YS e-mail: bdj@bda.org. Priority will be given to letters less than 500 words long. Authors must sign the letter, which may be edited for reasons of space. Readers may now comment on letters via the BDJ website (www.bdj.co.uk). A 'Readers' Comments' section appears at the end of the full text of each letter online.

Sir, I have, of late, been refreshing my understanding of artificially fluoridated water supplies and the overwhelming evidence that supports its use to help reduce health inequalities.

I find it shameful that such an evidence-based public health intervention still only benefits 10% of the UK's population. As a trainee in paediatric dentistry I see more than my fair share of children suffering from the effects of dental caries. I wonder how many of these children would be spared such preventable pain and discomfort if only for one part per million of fluoride in their water supply.

What is more surprising (and disappointing from a UK perspective) is that despite initial fears that it was a communist plot at mind control the United States now supplies 66% of its population with fluoridated water. I would hope that our culture in the UK is more altruistic than that of the US and yet we are languishing far behind implementation of a simple, sensible and proven method of narrowing health inequality.

As NHS contracts aim to shift to a more prevention-biased system of remuneration it is important to remember that the single biggest, positive, caries prevention intervention that will ever benefit our patients and communities is 1 ppm fluoride in their drinking water.

I fear that as a profession we have become fatigued by the lack of progress on this subject and we need to collectively re-evaluate what we are doing to lobby for water fluoridation on a local, regional and national level.

I would strongly recommend that colleagues visit www.bfsweb.org to rekindle their inner pro-fluoridation activist.

I have no affiliation with the British Fluoridation Society.

1. Liverpool

Readers' Comments

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  1. #62595
    2014-01-13 06:24 AM
    C Kopf said:

    Contrary to beliefs, decades of water fluoridation in the United States failed to save money, put dentists out of business, or reduce tooth decay ? especially in the poor

    Tooth decay is a growing US epidemic (1) despite almost 7 decades of water fluoridation reaching record numbers of Americans and despite fluoridated toothpaste occuping 95% of the market along with a glut of fluoridated dental products, a fluoridated food supply and fluoridated pharmaceuticals.

    Nearly 9,500 new dental providers are needed to meet the country?s current oral health
    needs, according to a report by US Senator Bernie Sanders (Dental Crisis in America
    February 2012)

    The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports that Americans spent about $108 billion on dentists in an inflation-adjusted increase from $64 billion in 1996. Despite, this growth in dental spending more Americans than ever can?t afford dental care

    Forty-two percent of adults with tooth or mouth problems did not see a dentist in 2008 because they did not have dental insurance or could not afford the out-of-pocket payments. And 4 million children did not obtain needed dental care because their families could not afford it.

    Regardless of fluoridation, low income Americans suffer the most incidence and severity of tooth decay and are the least likely to get treatment.

    Instead of spreading less tooth decay across the land, fluoridation has spread dental fluorosis into every nook and cranny of America. The CDC reports that up to 60% of US adolescents now are afflicted with dental fluorosis. Yet, 51% of them have tooth decay.

    References: http://fluoridedangers.blogspot.com/2013/10/fluoridation-fails-americas-cavity.html

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