RECENTLY a group of over 100 dentists met to discuss the near epidemic levels of dental fluorosis in Irish children.
These professionals, members of Irish Dentists Opposing Fluoridation (IDOF) (www.idof.net) also reviewed the North/South Oral Health study carried out by the Department of Health, which showed a near seven-fold increase in fluoride damage to teeth from 1984-2002 in fluoridated Ireland (North/South Survey of Children’s Oral Health 2002).
This fluoride damage now affects up to 40pc of 15-year-olds according to the Oral Health Services Centre in University College Cork. But when it came to the paper’s launch, why did then Minister of Health Micheal Martin not mention such disturbing results in his speech? And, most importantly, what is being done to combat this dental epidemic?
Compulsory water fluoridation was introduced in the Republic of Ireland in the 1960s; since then fluorosis levels have sky-rocketed. Northern Ireland has consistently refused to mass-medicate tap water with chemical fluoride. In 1996, 25 out of 26 local councils rejected fluoridation on health grounds, concerned by scientific evidence linking the process with dental and health damage.
Government dentists tell us that fluorosis is caused when children swallow fluoride toothpaste but the figures do not support this. Both North and South communities use fluoride toothpaste but, most significantly, children from the Republic have nearly three times more dental fluorosis.
We all agree about the affinity of fluoride for hard tissues and there is now scientific evidence of a linear correlation between dental fluorosis and bone fractures in children. However, the Minister and the ‘Fluoride Police’ refuse to acknowledge this potential health damage.
They even keep their own figures about the dental damage hushed up. Why?
The simple answer is they are financially and ethically responsible for damaging children’s health.
With new evidence questioning the effectiveness of swallowing fluoride and more and more children showing signs of fluoride poisoning, there is a compensation time-bomb ticking.
I believe the government knows this but as with the whole nursing home payments debacle, they are playing a delaying game.
A game of forums and expert groups where the ‘Fluoride Police’ direct operations in talking shops while feigning concern with closed minds.
They swoop from their academic bastions to defend a policy upon which some have built careers.
Finally, most dentists would refuse to prescribe for a patient he or she has never met, whose medical history he or she does not know, a substance that is intended to create bodily change – with the advice take as much as you like but you will take it for the rest of your life because some children have tooth decay.
This is the water fluoridation ethos and this is why children are swallowing uncontrolled, unmonitored levels of chemical fluoride. Even more reasons to stop this unsafe, unethical and outdated practice.
This is an edited extract of an article in the April issue of The Irish Dentist by Dr Don Mac Auley BDS. Dr Mac Auley is a member of the group Irish Dentists Opposing Fluoridation.