Once the ideas became institutionalized in the 1950s that water fluoridation was a necessity for dental health (it is not) and that there was a magical “optimum” fluoride concentration (there isn’t) two presumptions were established. The first presumption is that fluoride added to drinking water is safe and without harm. The second was that anyone who questions the practice of intentionally adding fluoride to drinking water is a nut case, a fool, and “anti” as they have been called.
Well regardless these two presumptions are false. Indeed, intentional communal fluoridation as a prudent public health practice will continue to be questioned (and opposed) by thinking people because of the evidence, not in spite of it. Studies such as this simply observe and conclude what has been assumed in advance. Such studies are thrown on to the pile of prior studies over the decades which have the same starting assumptions. Though well intentioned such studies fall short of answering the most important questions regarding fluoride addition to drinking water.
McLaren L, Patterson S, Thawer S, Faris P, McNeil D, Potestio M, Shwart L. Measuring the short-term impact of fluoridation cessation on dental caries in Grade 2 children using tooth surface indices. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology. 2016 Feb 17. doi: 10.1111/cdoe.12215.
OBJECTIVES: To examine the short-term impact of fluoridation cessation on children’s caries experience measured by tooth surfaces. If there is an adverse short-term effect of cessation, it should be apparent when we focus on smooth tooth surfaces, where fluoride is most likely to have an impact for the age group and time frame considered in this study.
METHODS: We examined data from population-based samples of school children (Grade 2) in two similar cities in the province of Alberta, Canada: Calgary, where cessation occurred in May 2011 and Edmonton where fluoridation remains in place. We analysed change over time (2004/2005 to 2013/2014) in summary data for primary (defs) and permanent (DMFS) teeth for Calgary and Edmonton, for all tooth surfaces and smooth surfaces only. We also considered, for 2013/2014 only, the exposed subsample defined as lifelong residents who reported usually drinking tap water.
RESULTS: We observed, across the full sample, an increase in primary tooth decay (mean defs – all surfaces and smooth surfaces) in both cities, but the magnitude of the increase was greater in Calgary (F-cessation) than in Edmonton (F-continued). For permanent tooth decay, when focusing on smooth surfaces among those affected (those with DMFS>0), we observed a non-significant trend towards an increase in Calgary (F-cessation) that was not apparent in Edmonton (F-continued).
CONCLUSIONS: Trends observed for primary teeth were consistent with an adverse effect of fluoridation cessation on children’s tooth decay, 2.5-3 years post-cessation. Trends for permanent teeth hinted at early indication of an adverse effect. It is important that future data collection efforts in the two cities be undertaken, to permit continued monitoring of these trends.