EXTRA LETTERS: Readers react to PD editorial calling for fluoridation
Published: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 6:14 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 6:14 p.m.
This is no solution
EDITOR: I was stunned to read your Sunday editorial about combating tooth decay in our children (“The Solution: Fluoridate our water now”). Some solution. Dumping an industrial waste product into our water supply for every one of our citizens to ingest.
Dental fluorosis is not as rare as you think, and it is far from the only adverse health effect of drinking fluoridated water. Please educate yourself by going to www.fluoridation.com. Fluoride is an industrial waste product generated in huge quantities by the fertilizer, aluminum, steel and computer chip industries. To safely dispose of this hazardous material is a monumental headache for these industries. No wonder they are thrilled when communities volunteer to take this garbage off their hands by dumping it into their water supply.
It's the same mentality that pushes prescription drugs when lifestyle changes could do a better job. The establishment of free dental health clinics for our disadvantaged children is a great first step. When these programs also include education on diet and proper home care, we will see a big difference in the dental health of our children — without poisoning all of us.
Kids deserve better
EDITOR: I know there's a lot of distrust of government agencies, but it's a proven scientific fact that water fluoridation works to prevent dental decay. I moved to Santa Rosa to practice pediatric dentistry almost two years ago from Los Angeles (a fluoridated community). When comparing the communities, the difference in the ability to manage dental care is astounding.
Where there was fluoridation, a small, non-cavitated lesion on tooth enamel could be monitored for months or years without progression of decay. Those affected teeth were being reinforced by tiny amounts of fluoride mineral administered with every sip from a public water source. In Sonoma County, that isn't the case. Regularly I have seen tiny spots on teeth turn huge in record time.
Fluorosis is a valid concern and should be monitored closely by the community water board. Too much of a good thing can be detrimental: Water, for instance, can cause water intoxication and can prove fatal if one drinks too much. But this dental crisis in Sonoma County isn't going to go away when our kids' teeth don't have the strength to withstand the damage inflicted by cavity-causing bacteria.
We need to shy away from the conspiracy theories and start demanding better for our children.
The final solution?
EDITOR: The solution proposed by The Press Democrat on how to dispose of a carcinogen and neurotoxin so dangerous that it is considered toxic waste by the Environmental Protection Agency is stunningly obscene and criminal.
You advocate the purchase of a chemical waste product straight out of the bowels of aluminum production to dump into our county's drinking water. Sodium fluoride — like mercury, lead and plutonium — is not healthy to living creatures in any quantity, and it is not “mumbo jumbo” science that mandates warning labels to be put on toothpaste tubes alerting users to avoid swallowing it. Why is that? The newspaper would have you believe that it has the best interests of our county's orally disadvantaged children at heart and that the quickest and easiest solution is to poison them — and everyone else — in the process. Exactly whose interests are being served here anyway?
Readers, please do some research on your own and then reassess what is being proposed. Do not subscribe to The Press Democrat's final solution.
Dental care needed
EDITOR: The dental crisis in Sonoma County is affecting all ages (“The problem: Our dental crisis,” Editorial, Thursday). Dental health affects overall health. Dental infections can be life threatening. Emergency rooms aren't equipped to provide dental care.
The Petaluma Health Center partners with six other dental clinics in fighting this crisis. These clinics accept Denti-Cal insurance for low-income children and pregnant women, with almost 50,000 yearly dental visits. Some, including the Petaluma Health Center, also accept adult patients on a sliding scale. Open since 2005, the health center's dental clinic expanded in 2011 from three dental operatories to nine and from one full-time dentist to four. With more than 12,000 patient visits annually, the clinic also participates in Give Kids a Smile Day, a successful program offering low-income children free dental screenings and preventive care.
The Petaluma Health Center is also working on integrating dental and medical care. This integrated model ensures that each pediatric patient is seen by a dentist before their first birthday and has a dental home. Pregnant patients will be able to attend classes regarding oral health and nutrition for mom and baby.
Although more low-income children and adults need dental care in Sonoma County, community health centers such as the Petaluma Health Center are effectively and steadily improving access.
Dental director, Petaluma Health Center
EDITOR: As a doctor-nurse “thyroid health team” — with four decades each medical experience — we strongly advise against fluoridation. Sensible countries across the globe (Japan, Sweden, Holland, India, Finland and Denmark) have rejected or banned the practice. Thoughtful dental experts and university professors have published papers explaining their new opposition to fluoride.
In 1997, 1,500 professionals of the Environmental Protection Agency publicly opposed fluoridation. In 2006, award-winning journalist Christopher Bryson published irrefutable and surprising data questioning fluoridation in his monumental book “The Fluoride Deception.”
The health benefits of fluoridated water are widely touted but not well documented. The original 10-year fluoride research in Michigan in 1945 was abandoned and declared a success despite poor results. Fluoride, once a medicine used to slow thyroid function, is contributing to an epidemic of thyroid dysfunction, increasing obesity, mental illness and low energy.
Ongoing research reveals more harm than good coming from fluoridation. Dental schools — financed by companies benefiting from fluoridation — teach a strong party line. No scientific consensus supports fluoridation as the proper effective way to combat our current dental crisis.
Many U.S. cities fluoridated for years are still having a dental crisis similar to ours. Fluoridation unfortunately is not the easy solution you suggest.
DR. RICHARD SHAMES
and KARILEE SHAMES
Making teeth strong
EDITOR: Fortifying our food and water is nothing new to us. We add vitamins and minerals to salt, bread and milk. Adding a tiny amount of fluoride to our water to strengthen our kids' teeth is a safe, wise and compassionate decision.
Fluoride makes the teeth strong and resistant to the bacterial acids that cause tooth decay, a major health concern reported recently in The Press Democrat. Water fluoridation has been used for more than 60 years and is one of our greatest public health achievements.
As a program director in infectious diseases at the National Institutes of Health which funded hundreds of fluoride studies, I watched scientists debate the benefits and risks of fluoridation, coming to the conclusion that the small amount of fluoride needed to protect teeth was not harmful. Both the American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly support community fluoridation.
As a father who raised his cavity-free daughter in a town with fluoridated water, I can attest to the healthy impact of this supplement on our family.
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