Over the years I have been following public health issues the biggest controversy has to be around the fluoridation of water. There are three objections I have to the legislation for fluoridation of water:
- The removal of the right of an individual to voluntarily opt in or opt out of a health program is a serious undermining of democracy and a move towards technocratic fascism in which a ‘big’ brother’ decides what is good for us. Even criminal law allows that people have the right to choose to act for or against such law. Even a criminal can only be controlled after they have been proven to have performed a damaging act against society;
- The scientific evidence has been such as to create strong lines being drawn between supporters and opposers of fluoridation, within the scientific and health professional community. This means that society cannot default to science for THE answer. The possibility of cancer and brain damage in children, and agricultural and environmental pollution, is a serious enough consideration to place fluoridation in a risk to health category.
- Dental Associations have too long relied on the fluoridation argument as the core, even the only aspect, of dental public health campaign. However, at its best it is only a 10 percenter. That is, it will only reduce an individual’s caries by 10% or 1 in 10 caries. Australian cary rates are rising even in fluoridated areas. And gum disease is not effected at all positively with fluoridation. Dental public health can aim for a 90% reduction in dental caries and gum disease through parent education, dental hygiene, diet and nutrition education, food, agriculture and nutrition research.
There is now a large professional petition before the USA congress to cease fluoridation of water. It is time for dental associations and research and public health strategies to move into the 21st Century.