New research casts doubt upon effectiveness of fluoridation in water

Consuming fluoridated water doesn't prevent cavities, according to a new report, because fluoride is claimed to reduce tooth decay after, not before, teeth grow in.

By Sylvie Dale
Online Editor

NEW YORK, Oct. 2, 2001 — A coalition opposed to fluoridation of water supplies claims a new report invalidates the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommendation to extend fluoridation programs.

The CDC recommends adding fluoride to drinking water as a safe and effective way to prevent cavities.

But a new report put out by the CDC Aug. 16 shows consuming fluoridated water doesn't prevent cavities because fluoride is claimed to reduce tooth decay after, not before, teeth erupt. The N.Y.S. Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation is taking this information as encouraging evidence that water suppliers may want to stop fluoridating the water.

For decades, medical groups and government agencies assured legislators and media that children need to swallow small amounts of fluoride daily, so their still-developing permanent teeth, forming under the gums, would eventually emerge with a fluoride shield to resist tooth decay. This belief launched water fluoridation in 1945.

New findings show that fluoride works primarily after teeth have erupted, according to dentists/authors of "Recommendations for Using Fluoride to Prevent and Control Dental Caries in the United States," a report released by the CDC on August 16.

Even though fluoride in saliva bathes teeth post-eruptively, the report showed, this level is too low to prevent tooth decay. The report also said it's unclear whether fluoride reduces the activity of Streptococcus mutans, the bacteria that, some believe, causes cavities. However, fluoride does build up in dental plaque.

"But dentists instruct us to brush off plaque twice-a-day and, professionally, twice-a-year," says attorney Paul Beeber, President, N.Y.S. Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation. "Swallowed fluoride doesn't incorporate into developing enamel, doesn't kill decay-causing microbes and doesn't reach levels high enough in saliva to reduce tooth decay. So basically, fluoridation is useless," says Beeber

The Environmental Protection Agency said fluoridation chemicals used by over 90% of fluoridating communities, silicofluorides, have never been tested for safety.

"The switch to silicofluorides about 50 years ago (from sodium fluoride) may have been an enormous mistake," said Roger Masters (Dartmouth Professor and President, Foundation for Neuroscience & Society) and Myron Coplan (chemical engineer, Intellequity Consulting), who have published extensively on the effects of these chemicals.

Summarizing their work, Masters says, "where silicofluorides are in use, there are higher rates of behavioral problems that have been linked to lead toxicity (including hyperactivity and other learning disabilities, substance abuse, and violent crime)."

Masters/Coplan further criticize CDC for not naming the fluoride compounds used for fluoridation while naming all fluorides used in other dental products.

The American Dental Hygienists Association has the full text of the report at

For more information from the N.Y.S. Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, visit the organization's web site at

For more information from the CDC, visit its web site at

For more information from the EPA, visit the EPA's web site at

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