The NZ Dental Association is in no position to claim the scientific high ground over the Hamilton city council. Fluoridated water affects every part of our body and dentists are only trained to treat the oral cavity, not the entire body. It is also irrational for them to criticise the Council for handing out dental health advice in their flyer and then criticise them for not handing out dental treatment, via water fluoridation, to the whole population.
The Dental Association’s criticism of the Hamilton City Council’s flyer shows their extreme arrogance by claiming that they should be believed without question. After all, they gave out incorrect information for 50 years when they claimed that fluoride was an essential nutrient and that children needed to consume it to be incorporated into the growing tooth enamel. It is now well and truly accepted that the amount of fluoride in the tooth structure does not impact on its resistance to decay.
The Association cannot claim to be any more of an authority on medical aspects of fluoridation than the Hamilton City Council. In fact, the Council is arguably more informed than Association member Jonathan Broadbent as they at least have sat through four days of hearing both sides – something Jonathan Broadbent appears not to have done. One of the reasons given by the council for stopping fluoridation was their recognition that they were not an expert in public health. But nor is the Dental Association which is well outside its remit to give advice on medications that go beyond training as dental health experts.
The Dental Association sounds even more irrational when they proclaim that children should use adult strength toothpaste at 1000ppm as 400ppm is too low, and then go on to say that people should consume water at 0.8ppm. That is completely illogical. Colgate claim on their toothpaste packets that using fluoridated toothpaste provides protection for up to 12 hours, so why on earth would anyone need to add 0.8ppm via their drinking water?
The Hamilton City Council’s leaflet to ratepayers gives information about why it decided to ban fluoridation in Hamilton. It reflects the balance of scientific information provided during the Tribunal process recommended by the Ministry of Health. The Dental Association needs to realise that in continuing to support the discredited practice of fluoridation it is on the wrong side of health, the wrong side of science, and the wrong side of history.