Sir, you rightly identify the harm that is being caused by the spread of misinformation in your excellent article.1 The dental world is familiar with the work of conspiracy theorists through the activities of anti-fluoridation activists and historical dental amalgam-related scare stories.
The British Fluoridation Society is working with colleagues world-wide to develop and implement strategies to counter anti-fluoridation propaganda. We are gathering examples and analysing ‘fluorophobic’ sentiments in the public arena (press, conventional electronic media, on the public platform and increasingly on social media); making sure the evidence underpinning water fluoridation is up-to-date and available to interested parties; and enabling supportive colleagues to make the fluoridation case effectively and working with public health and academic colleagues. We want to understand the drivers behind the beliefs and behaviours of fluoridation opponents so we can shift the paradigm in the public debate.
The BFS would welcome input from colleagues who want to be involved in this work; there’s a lot to do and it is a long-term commitment if we are to take CWF [community water fluoridation] forwards.
Affiliations, British Fluoridation Society, Oldham, UK
1. Westgarth D. How dangerous is the spread of online misinformation?. BDJ In Pract 2019; 32: 10-15.
*Original letter online at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41404-020-0633-z
** PDF of letter at http://fluoridealert.org/wp-content/uploads/lowry-2021.pdf