“It may…be that fluoridation of drinking water does not have a strong protective effect against early childhood caries (ECC),” reports dentist Howard Pollick, University of California, and colleagues, in the Winter 2003 Journal of Public Health Dentistry(1).
The dental profession promises steep cavity declines in populations who drink water with fluoride added, especially in poor children who risk decayed baby teeth. “Water fluoridation has been identified as the most highly recommended preventive strategy for early childhood caries,” according to the American Dental Association.(8)
But, Pollick, a staunch fluoridation proponent and co-chairman of the California Fluoridation Task Force, found that poor children had the most cavities regardless of fluoridation status.
A majority of Asian-American children that Pollick and his research team studied, lived in areas with fluoridated water; yet they suffered with the highest prevalence and the greatest amount of cavities.
Pollick’s team studied 2,520 California preschool children as part of the California Oral Health Needs Assessment of Children Study which convinced California legislators to mandate fluoridation statewide in 1995(1a).
Without x-rays, dentists detected cavities in 33% of Head Start (HS) children and 13% of non-Head Start (non-HS) children. To qualify for Head Start, a program for low-income children, a family of four must earn under $18,400 a year(2).
In Head Start, Asian children averaged of 8.9 dmfs (decayed, missing, or filled tooth surfaces); Latino children averaged 7.3 dmfs; African-American children averaged 5.1 dmfs. While non-Head Start white children averaged only 1.0 dmfs. The U.S. average is 1.4 dmfs(3)
“…the primary sampling units were selected on the basis of fluoridation status: three were fluoridated urban regions, two were rural (nonfluoridated), and five were non-fluoridated urban regions,” Pollick and colleagues write.
“Our analysis did not appear to be affected by whether or not children lived in an area with fluoridated water,” reports Pollick et al.
A study of 1,230 Head Start children aged 3-5 years in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas found that, when the data were looked at separately in rural and non-rural children, there was no difference in cavity rates between optimally and non-fluoridated areas, reports Pollick and colleagues.
The National Maternal & Child Health Association says that in two studies of preschoolers in Head Start and other programs in Maryland and Arizona, half the children were found to have visible tooth decay. Research suggests that in some cases, the condition remained untreated in up to 92 percent of Head Start preschoolers.(7)
Low-income children consume the poorest diets, and are generally deficient in nutrients, such as tooth-essential calcium(4). Another study shows calcium, not fluoride, supplements reduce cavities(5).
“Fluoride is non-essential. In fact, studies show American children are fluoride over-dosed yet tooth decay is rising in the poor populations,” says lawyer Paul Beeber, President, New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation
Federal surveys identify low calcium intake as a public health concern; 53% of 2-5 year-olds consume inadequate calcium(6).
“Tooth decay is another symptom of low-income and/or poor diet, and is not a fluoride deficiency,” says Beeber. “Tooth decay is a disease of poverty. Feed these children; don’t fluoridate them,” says Beeber. “Dentists, fill their cavities; don’t just count them!”
Despite the growing evidence that fluoridation fails to deliver what it promises and wastes tens of millions of tax-dollars, several states have introduced mandatory fluoridation bills (Pennsylvania and New Jersey) and funds for fluoridation are part of U.S. Senate bill S.1142. Tell your legislators to stop the madness.
Find your legislators here: http://www.congress.org