Back in September 1998 — just one month prior to the Calgary civic election and the last plebiscite on whether to continue adding fluoride to our water supply — I met with advocates on both sides of the debate.
As I stated in a column then, there were the “experts,” like Calgary’s medical officer of health, Dr. Brent Friesen, who wanted to continue adding fluoride to Calgary’s water, and well-meaning non-experts, some of whom believed in “wacky conspiracy theories.” At that time, my twin boys were just 17 months old. I wanted to do what was best for my kids and the city, and preventing cavities seemed like a valiant goal.
Well, those 17-month-old kids have turned into 13-year-olds, and over the years since I wrote those editorials and columns supporting water fluoridation I have spent a lot more time brushing up on fluoride. As a result, my pro-fluoride opinion has been pulled out by the root and turned on its crown.
Actually, it’s what happened to my kids’ teeth that has caused me to change my mind.
My sons’ teeth show evidence of fluorosis caused by ingesting too much fluoride. Their teeth have milky white spots and streaks on them — an indication that they may have suffered damage to their bones as well.
I did everything right as a parent. I listened to the “experts” and “the best available ‘science’.” I made sure our kids brushed with children’s toothpaste, containing lower doses of fluoride than adult toothpaste, and that they only used a pea-sized portion when they brushed. I took them to the dentist annually for checkups where — until recently — they received fluoride treatments as well. And when they were thirsty, they got mostly milk or water, never pop, sometimes juice, and rarely water from those toxic plastic bottles.
Somewhere between birth and getting their adult teeth, my sons got too much fluoride. In other words, those damned experts were wrong. If I had the money and the time, I’d sue someone.
Fluorosis is not just a minor cosmetic issue as those same “experts” say. Those white spots actually mean the enamel is weaker and that could lead to those spots turning brown and causing pitting in my kids’ tooth enamel. There are also reputable studies that show if there is fluorosis of the teeth, chances are, bones have been affected, too, making them brittle. There are other studies that link fluoride to cancer as well as other issues.
In November 2006, the American Dental Association started recommending that infants from zero to 12 months of age should have their formula prepared with water containing no fluoride at all. So, all those kids born before November 2006 be damned if their mom didn’t or couldn’t fully nurse her babies.
One of the major reasons given by those who want to continue pushing fluoride down our throats is primarily to help the dental health of low-income Calgarians. They argue that people living near the poverty line can’t afford to properly take care of their kids’ teeth. Hmmm? But a tube of fluoride toothpaste costs as little as 79 cents and lasts several weeks if used twice a day by several people, whereas bottled water costs about 99 cents a litre.
Scientists have been wrong on so many other occasions, I am now extremely skeptical about anything they want to force on us.
Remember how eggs and coffee were considered terrible for our health? Now they’re highly recommended and studies show that coffee may actually prevent diabetes. So, why not start adding caffeine to our water supply?
It has been reported by reputable medical journals that Canadians — owing to our long winters and lack of sunshine — suffer from a severe lack of vitamin D. This lack of vitamin D has been linked to serious illnesses, like multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis and others. So let’s put some vitamin D into our water!
Depression is a growing concern, too. Why not add Prozac to our water? Absurd, right? Exactly. Medication doesn’t belong in our water — the very stuff of life.
Some Calgary aldermen, particularly Gord Lowe, wonder why people are upset about fluoride being added to water when no one seems concerned about iodine being added to salt. The answer is obvious, Gord. It’s possible to buy sea salt and Kosher salt that are not iodized. In other words, Calgarians have a choice. But we have no choice about what comes out of our taps. There isn’t a fluoride tap and a non-fluoride tap.
The science on fluoride is not settled. That’s why the amount of fluoride added to our water in 1991 was reduced from one part per million to 0.7 ppm in 1998, and why parents are warned not to give fluoride to infants. I guess those oh, so smug “experts” just shrug and say too bad so sad for all those kids who have been harmed as a result of their incorrect “science.”
Fluoride can cause harm. My kids’ teeth are proof of that and so are thousands of other people walking around Calgary. You can see it when they smile and that should make us frown. Fluoride should be removed from our water supply regardless of what those so-called and so often wrong experts tell us.