No silence in the fluoride debate
By Dr. John O’Keefe
ommunity water fluoridation must surely be among the most studied public health measures in history. The most recent published study to hit the headlines asserts that expectant mothers consuming fluoridated water will give birth to babies with lower IQ.
CDA has been handling media enquiries since the publication of this study in JAMA Pediatrics in August. Here are the key points in the CDA message to the media in relation to this story:
“While the study does not address the oral health benefits of fluoridated municipal water, the Canadian Dental Association is reviewing the findings in consultation with our colleagues in the scientific community. “
“It is important to recognize that this is one study with small sample sizes within the context of more than 40 years of other research on the safety and health benefits of fluoridated water.”
“Careful attention to oral health is particularly important during pregnancy, and CDA recommends that women see their dentist as part of maintaining their oral health.”
The CDA position is consistent with those recently articulated by the American Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry in its response to the study states that its “current best practices statement on fluoride use remains solid and should be the starting point for our members when considering fluoride therapy for children.”
Perhaps your patients may be asking what you think of the latest findings and whether this JAMA article has changed your position on community water fluoridation. You might consider pointing them to a recent article in the Globe and Mail by health correspondent André Picard titled Fluoride won’t make you dumber, but the ‘debate’ about its safety might.
Mr. Picard, who is very highly regarded in the Canadian health community begins his piece with the statement that: there is no shortage of conspiracy theories in health care, but some of the most imaginative and enduring are about fluoridation. He ends with: but as health threats – real and imagined – go, the “government is poisoning us with fluoride” argument doesn’t hold any water.