Fluoride Action Network

New Studies Find Fluoridation Ineffective

Source: Fluoride Action Network | November 13th, 2002
Location: International

A number of new studies have cast yet further doubt on the benefits of water fluoridation.

1) A study from the journal Caries Research (Seppa et al, 2002) reports no differences in dental decay when comparing the dental records of a fluoridated and unfluoridated town in Finland. As the study notes “even a longitudinal approach did not reveal a lower caries occurrence in the fluoridated than in the low-fluoride reference community.”

2) A study from the spanish journal Cadernos de Saude Publica (Sales-Peres & Basto 2002), reports no difference in dental decay between fluoridated and unfluoridated cities in Brazil. According to the authors, “There was no statistically significant difference between DMFT in municipalities of the same size, regardless of the presence or absence of fluoride in the water supply…” The authors note that a particularly high level of dental decay was found in the fluoridated city of Pederneiras.

3) A study presented at the American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting (November 12, 2002), reports a high incidence of Early Childhood Caries (ECC), also known as “Baby Bottle Tooth Decay”, in fluoridated Minneapolis. According to the study, “Prevalence of ECC was 15% for upper anterior in 12-24 months old and 58% in 36-60 months old children…The results suggest a significant level of ECC among children who visited the dental clinic from the metropolitan area.” (see below)

4) A study from the journal Environmental Health Perspectives (Gemmel et al, 2002), reports a higher level of dental decay in a fluoridated urban community (Boston, Massachusetts) versus an unfluoridated rural community (Farmington, Maine). As the authors note, “The finding that caries were significantly more common among children in the urban subgroup seems counterintuitive, however, given their presumed greater exposure to fluoride.”

5) Lastly, a special report from The Cincinnati Enquirer (October 6, 2002) has seriously undermined fluoridation proponent’s highly dubious claim that fluoridation can prevent the oral health crisis being experienced by poor populations in the United States. The special report focused on the severe dental health crisis that exists in the poor sections of Cincinnati, a city that has been fluoridated since 1979. According to the report,

“City and regional medical officials say tooth decay is the city’s No. 1 unmet health-care need.

“We cannot meet the demand,” says Dr. Larry Hill, Cincinnati Health Department dental director.

“It’s absolutely heartbreaking and a travesty. We have kids in this community with severe untreated dental infections. We have kids with self-esteem problems, and we have kids in severe pain and we have no place to send them in Cincinnati. People would be shocked to learn how bad the problem has become.”

The above studies add to a now vast body of evidence showing fluoridation either doesn’t work, or isn’t necessary. This evidence includes:

a) 5 studies published since 2000 reporting that cavities do not increase, and often decrease, when water fluoridation is ceased.
b) World Health Organization (WHO) statistics showing that dental decay has declined at the same rate in unfluoridated western Europe as it has in the highly fluoridated United States. According to the WHO, and numerous independent studies, there is now virtually no difference in dental decay between the two regions, despite the vast difference in water fluoridation status.
c) The largest dental health survey ever conducted in the United States, which failed to find a statistically significant difference in dental decay between fluoridated and unfluoridated communities. In an analysis of the survey’s DMFT (Decayed, Missing and Filled Teeth) data, no difference was found (Yiamoyiannis 1990), while in a separate analysis of the survey’s DMFS (Decayed, Missing and Filled Surfaces) data, a slight difference (0.5 out of 128 tooth surfaces) was found (Brunelle & Carlos 1990).