Item presented for fact-checking & analysis
By: Janelle Miles
Publication date: November 13, 2016
Organisation: The Sunday Mail (Qld)
This article contends that poor dental health in Queensland children is a direct consequence of lack of public water fluoridation schemes across the state, and that by implication those who oppose or prevent artificial water fluoridation programs from being implemented are harming the dental health of the community.
Fact check & analysis
The first thing to do here is to broaden the scope beyond the narrow bandwidth of the water fluoridation status of Queensland. Once we do this, we quickly realise that the pro-fluoridation contention that lack of artificial fluoridation programs results in increased tooth decay, is false. Indeed, the best way to realise the absurdity of the contention is by taking an international perspective.
We could start with Australian researcher, Dr. Mark Diesendorf. In 1986, Diesendorf found that:
"Large temporal reductions in tooth decay, which cannot be attributed to fluoridation, have been observed in both unfluoridated and fluoridated areas of at least eight developed countries over the past thirty years" .
He published his findings in the journal Nature, yet after all these years the lie continues to be perpetuated in Australia that artificial water fluoridation programs are essential for dental health. We can also look at more modern international statistics and observe that a country's lack of artificial water fluoridation does not disadvantage it in any way:
"Fluoride advocates often claim that the reduction in tooth decay that has occurred since the 1950s is the result of the widespread introduction of fluoridated water. In 1999, for example, the Centers for Disease Control stated that "as a result [of water fluoridation], dental caries declined precipitously during the second half of the 20th century." What the CDC failed to mention is that tooth decay rates have "precipitously declined" in all western countries, irrespective of whether the country ever fluoridated its water. Indeed, most western countries do not fluoridate their water and yet their tooth decay rates have declined at the same rate as the U.S. and other fluoridated countries. This fact, which is widely acknowledged in the dental literature, can be quickly demonstrated by examining the World Health Organization’s (WHO) data on tooth decay trends in each country" .
In 2009, Warren et al. produced a study that found no worthwhile association between fluoride intake and caries reduction:
"These findings suggest that achieving a caries-free status may have relatively little to do with fluoride intake" .
The findings of Warren et al., of course, come as no surprise, considering it has been long acknowledged that the initial idea, which helped launch fluoridation many years ago – i.e. that systemic fluoride intake is required – is false . The world doesn't end when water fluoridation programs are stopped. Instead, life simply goes on .
In summary, the evidence for the benefits of water fluoridation is – at best – very weak [5-6]. This can most easily be seen by comparing advanced modern countries, over time, and realising the simple truth – that they are, on the whole, doing just fine without injecting silicofluoride compounds into their public drinking water systems.