DESPITE the scaremongering from your In My View correspondent Joy Warren, the best available scientific evidence worldwide tells us that water fluoridation reduces tooth decay effectively and safely.
The York report found that, on average, children in fluoridated areas have 2.25 fewer teeth decayed, missing and filled than those in non-fluoridated areas. This represents about a 40 per cent reduction in the amount of tooth decay experienced per child.
The same report found that, on average, in fluoridated areas there are about 15 per cent more children with no tooth decay at all than there are in non-fluoridated areas. It has been calculated that if five year old children in non-fluoridated Manchester were to enjoy the same level of dental health as those in fluoridated Birmingham and The Black Country, around 40,000 teeth a year could be saved from decay and 6,000 more children would be completely free from decay.
I acknowledged in my previous response that in fluoridated areas there is generally a slight increase in the number of children with noticeable dental fluorosis. The Medical Research Council and the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council have both estimated that in developed countries such as the UK and Ireland, about 3-4 per cent of children in fluoridated areas are likely to be affected, compared with 1 per cent in non-fluoridated
The 12 per cent figure cited by Mrs Warren from the York report is based on calculations in that include studies from countries in Africa and Asia with hot climates and much higher concentrations of naturally occurring fluoride in the local water supply than the fluoride level for UK fluoridation schemes.
I note that Mrs Warren has now brought the Icelandic volcano eruption into the equation. Here, she is at odds with the European Food Safety Authority, which states that the potential risk from fluoride in volcanic ash to drinking water and food in the European Union is ‘negligible’.
Interestingly, she appears to rely on data from the early 1940s to prove that fluoride is harmful, virtually all substances are potentially harmful at the wrong concentration, including oxygen and nitrogen, which are the main constituents of the air we breathe and on which our lives depend.
Both the British Medical Association and the American Medical Association have expressed their support for water fluoridation, and as recently as 2008 the American Public Health Association reiterated its strong endorsement and recommendation for the fluoridation of all community water systems as a safe and effective public health measure for the prevention of tooth decay.