Dentaltown November 2012 - (Page 20)

howard speaks column » The Fluoride Wars Continue by Howard Farran, DDS, MBA, Publisher, Dentaltown Magazine Almost 70 years since the first American city – Grand Rapids, Michigan – introduced fluoride to its water supply, the fluoride debate continues. The media in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has been abuzz about fluoride because the city recently voted to stop adding supplemental fluoride to its water supply (citing budget constraints and that an acceptable amount of fluoride already appears in the water), and the cities of Portland, Oregon, and Phoenix, Arizona (my backyard, and the city I helped fluoridate in 1989), recently took another gander at regulating fluoride in their own water supplies. As a dental professional you are well aware of the oral health benefits we all receive from fluoride. You give fluoride to your patients during their cleanings and you insist your patients use a fluoridated toothpaste at home because it promotes stronger teeth and less decay. What you might not be fully aware of is the benefit fluoridating a city’s water supply provides to its citizens, and I am writing this column for the community water fluoridation dentists (CWFDs) out there who, over the course of their career, might be questioned by either their patients or concerned citizens about water fluoridation. When I opened up my dental practice – Today’s Dental in Phoenix, Arizona – in 1987, tooth decay was rampant. I couldn’t understand why all of my patients were presenting with such horrible oral health problems. I went to dental school in Kansas City, Missouri, and I didn’t see even a tenth of the amount of decay in the patients I worked on there. I looked into it and found out the difference in the areas was that the water of Kansas City was fluoridated and the water of Phoenix was not. For a year, myself and some close professional friends of mine like Jack Dillenberg, who is currently the Dean of the Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health – A.T. Still University in Mesa, Arizona, championed the movement for Phoenix to fluoridate its water, and it passed. Once the city of Phoenix fluoridated the water supply in 1989, my practice witnessed a noticeable drop in cavities in all of my patients. Economists have crunched the numbers and found that for every 40 cents spent on fluoridating a community’s water supply, it saves each patient nearly $40 in dental care. That’s why, in America, fluoridating the water has been classified as one of the top 10 greatest public health measures in the last 100 years. As I mentioned, the common council of the city of Phoenix recently voted on whether or not it should continue fluoridating its water supply, and on September 5, 2012, I took part in a public debate over this issue. This debate drew a large audience and consisted of interested observers, several local dental and health-care professionals, as well as some members of the community who oppose fluoridating city water supplies. I entered the debate with a side to present, but I decided to keep an open mind, anticipating that the opposition might provide some key evidence to the contrary, but nothing the opposition presented changed my opinion about fluoride. The evidence against regulating acceptable fluoride levels in the water doesn’t add up. All legitimate studies on water fluoridation find that it does not cause any adverse health affects at the levels U.S. citizens are exposed to, but what all of the studies find is that it significantly decreases tooth decay when compared to people who drink water containing no fluoride in it. The fringe studies that anti-fluoridationists often locate to bolster their arguments tend to be based in foreign countries with water supplies that have fluoride levels of up to 11 parts per million (acceptable levels of fluoride in the United States are 0.7 parts per million). Anti-fluoridationists also like to point out that European countries don’t fluoridate their water supplies. The infrastructure of European countries is quite a bit older than that of the United States – by several hundred years, in fact. In the States, it’s easy and cost effective to set up a single fluoride installation facility to treat all of the city’s water, whereas in Europe, you might have to set up 25 or 30 of them. Not very cost effective. Europeans do get fluoride, however, because they fluoridate their salt just like we iodize our salt to prevent goiter! continued on page 22 20 NOVEMBER 2012 »

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Dentaltown November 2012 Highlights
Continuing Education Update
Howard Speaks: The Fluoride Wars Continue
Professional Courtesy: Get Out of the Office
Second Opinion: Investing in New Technology
What Are You Guys Cementing Zirconia Crowns With?
Issue with Crown Seats! Help Please!
New Products
Product Profile: The Dental Sleep Network
Dentrix G5
Corporate Profile: Officite
Excellent Communication Benefits: A Full-mouth Rehabilitation Case
Product Profile: TruDenta
The Art, Science and Numbers of Clear Aligner Therapy Research: Endodontics
Cementation Simplified
You Should Know: OperaPager
Matching One Anterior Crown
Desired Smiles in Today’s Economy
Why We See Problems with Teeth Whitening: The Science of Whitening, Part 1
In This Issue: Garbage In, Garbage Out
Perio Reports
Ad Index
Profile in Oral Health: Paleolithic Teeth
Dentally Incorrect

Dentaltown November 2012