The NZ Dental Association is about to implement rules to stifle dissent amongst dentists over water fluoridation – only a few months after Chief Executive David Crum denied they put pressure on dissenters. From November, dentists who state a view against fluoridation will have to qualify that by saying they are stating a minority view. But worldwide those who support fluoridation are in the minority. Will the NZ Dental Association qualify all its public statements with that fact?
Even in New Zealand, the Dental Association (NZDA) has no real proof of what the majority view is. But more worrying is why is the Dental Association so hell-bent on promoting fluoridation, against the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence, that it will issue veiled threats to dentists not to discuss the issue openly?
It also seems that those dentists who support fluoridation are highly uninformed, according to a study published in the New Zealand Dental Journal in June this year. It found that just over half the dentists that responded to a survey either did not know, or did not agree, that drinking fluoridated water could cause dental fluorosis – white spots or marks on the teeth indicating that a child has been over-exposed to fluoride .
This is absolutely astounding and shows that many dentists are completely uninformed about the effects of fluoridation. According to the Ministry of Health 44% of New Zealand children have some form of dental fluorosis. NZ studies published since 2005 show twice as many children in fluoridated areas have fluorosis compared to children in non-fluoridated areas.
If they are that uninformed about dental fluorosis, it is likely that many of them still do not know that fluoride does not need to be swallowed – it works by surface action on teeth. This has been known since 1999, yet many dentists still tell local councils that fluoride works by being incorporated into tooth enamel while the teeth are forming. That was the unsubstantiated theory until 1999.
The survey of dentists was carried out three years ago. Only 465 responded (20% of the total number of dentists registered with the Dental Association). Therefore, the NZDA cannot claim that the majority of dentists agree with fluoridation as it is likely that dentists who did not agree would have been reluctant to complete the survey. Views may also have changed in the last three years with the issue gaining more attention.
“Codes of practice” have been used to suppress dissent throughout the history of fluoridation, as shown by published sociological research.
We invite the Dental Association to participate in an open, public, scientific forum discussion on fluoridation when world expert Dr Paul Connett is here in February 2014. Science, not suppression, is the only way this controversial issue will be resolved.
Contact: Mary Byrne, 027 361 5951