A Waikato dentist is urging Hamilton City Council not to support fluoridation because he says there is so much doubt about its safety and effectiveness.
Cambridge dentist Vernon Kruger has broken ranks with colleagues who last week warned of increased pain and cost if fluoride was scrapped.
The city council has commissioned a phone survey starting today before it considers whether fluoridation should continue.
Dr Kruger – who has been branded “anti-everything” by a Waikato Dental Association spokesman – said he believed it was unethical to force-feed a toxin like fluoride to the population.
He said there was too much controversy and too many unanswered questions about the impact of fluoridation on health for it to continue.
“We took an oath not to do harm to the patient. I believe it’s our responsibility as medical professionals not to do harm.”
Dr Kruger said sodium fluoride, most commonly used to fluoridate water, was extremely toxic. He said 200mg of the substance could kill a young child and a teaspoon could kill an adult.
Dr Kruger, who runs Gentle Dental 2000 with branches in Cambridge, Hamilton and Matamata, admitted he was “a bit of an upstart” and didn’t have much to do with other dentists. He is no longer a member of the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Dental Association.
Dr Kruger said dentists were told in their training that fluoride was a good thing and that mercury in fillings was okay.
He had since changed his view on both issues.
“No disease has been linked to fluoride deficiency. Humans can have perfectly good teeth without fluoride. I’ve yet to see any evidence that it actually works.”
Dr Kruger said he regarded factors such as poor diet and lower socio-economic circumstances as having more bearing on levels of tooth decay and said he had been saddened by the number of children he treated whose teeth had been damaged by too much fluoride.
Waikato Dental Association spokesman Steven Pawley said Dr Kruger was “anti-everything” and “out on a limb by himself”.
He said support for fluoride was virtually unanimous among about 160 members of the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Dental Association. He said large amounts of water would need to be drunk to be harmful.
Mr Pawley said Colgate had a toothpaste containing 6000 times more fluoride than went into drinking water.