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The Forum > Article Comments > Lies, damned lies and fluoridation > Comments

Lies, damned lies and fluoridation : Comments

By David McRae, published 8/3/2005

David McRae argues that the public has been misinformed over the benefits and risks of fluoridation.

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As the daughter & sister of dentists, I fail to see why dentists would be part of a conspiracy to promote a product which would reduce their market by removing dental caries. Can we not ascribe honest motives to their stance - the desire for an improvement in public health?

Living in rural Queensland without fluoridation, my 4 children all have at least several fillings. My understanding is that Brisbane kids have more dental decay than Sydney kids. Does anyone know if there are any statistics to show this?

Posted by Suella, Tuesday, 8 March 2005 12:18:19 PM
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Your arguments seem convincing David, but I agree with Suella that the Dental world are being truely altruistic and their evidence of the benefits of fluordated water is sound. See this document -
from the Australian Dental Association and tell me where the untruths lie.

This document points to a peer-reviewed article Spencer A.J., Slade, G.D. and Davies, M. (1996) Water Fluoridation in Australia. Community Dental Health, 13, supplement 2, 27-37 and the ADA state from this article ....
"The paper reports on a study in which researchers looked at Queensland (approx. 5% of population with water fluoridation) and South Australia (70%). In Queensland it compared children in Townsville (fluoridated since 1964) with those in Brisbane (never fluoridated). In South Australia it compared Adelaide (fluoridated since 1971) and regional centres (mainly not fluoridated).
The study concluded that in comparing the two regions (with or without fluoride): water fluoridation alone had a strong effect on the primary dentition (first teeth) in Queensland, water fluoridation was responsible for 0.3 less decayed surfaces per child.
Spencer points out the public health importance of these figures – that: “…a difference of only 0.12 DMF surfaces per child would translate to 300,000 permanent tooth surfaces for the approximately 2.5 million children in Australia aged 5-15 years.”"

Being a parent of three young children in unfluoridated Brisbane, my partner and I ensure that our children use fluoride toothpaste, and are taught the importance of dental hygene. I did not get enough education about this when I was a child, and my head is full of fillings.

Fluoridating water may take away certain human rights, but isn't it also neglectful not to adequately teach dental hygene, nor provide fluoride for dental care.
Posted by Baby Blue, Tuesday, 8 March 2005 2:34:01 PM
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Well done David. There are far too many lies and half truths from those promoting a poison, some even state that this poisonous substance causes cancer. Listening to a Brisbane radio station - the ABC recently. Parents were concerned that they could no longer purchase flouride tablets. Now there is a debate about adding this poison to the drinking water and suddenly there is a shortage of fluoride pills. I smell a very large rat! Suppose tablets were 'taken' from the market so parents would be concernd and concerned enough to press for the fluoridation of all drinking water.
Wouldn't fluoride manufacturers make much more lovely money by being a part of fluoridating Brisbane and wherever else's water supply?
regards, numbat
Posted by numbat, Tuesday, 8 March 2005 3:50:28 PM
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I have some sympathy for Suella's concerns. Dentists obviously would never willingly have become part of a conspiracy to fluoridate water supplies if it was going to leave them short of work by reducing tooth decay. As well, most dentists I know who believe fluoride is effective do have honest motives in seeing it as a medicine that will help their patients.

The area many people are now becoming worried about concerns the large industries now reported to have been behind the process to get fluoridation going. Industries giving off toxic emmissions of fluoride appear to have helped cultivate support for fluoridation amongst dentists in order to promote the image of fluoride as healthy medicine.

As hard to believe as this may seem, it is described in detail in the recent edition of the respected National Resources Defense Council's newsletter "On Earth" (

In this review of award winning BBC producer Chris Bryson's recent book "The Fluoride Deception", Bryson's contention is stated that: "Americans drink fluoridated water not because it was universally accepted as a cure for bad teeth, but rather because government and industry leaders wanted a benign use for fluoride waste".

He shows how leading public relations giants such as Edward Bernays, who is well known for his fantastically successful work for the tobacco industry promoting cigarettes, was also given the job of promoting fluoride.

And Suella, here is the interesting part that might explain just how and why such an innocent profession involving doctors of dentistry got caught up in all this.

When Bryson visited Bernays just before Bernays died at the age of 103, Bernays told Bryson that selling fluoride was mere child's play.

He explained that you can get practically any idea accepted if doctors are in favour. The public are then willing to accept it because a doctor is an authority "regardless of how much he knows or doesn't know".

So if this is correct, it seems in their support for fluoridation dentists may have just innocently let themselves be used by large corporations whose strengths are measured in dollars rather than professional ethics!
Posted by Phil Robertson, Tuesday, 8 March 2005 4:17:59 PM
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This fluoride debate really gets me going. If fluoride has been around for decades and its the best thing since football then how come we can't agree about it? Where's the SCIENCE? I agree with Suella that dentists and doctors don't intentionally mislead people, and I asked about a dozen DandD's and they all said they get their information 'from the ADA' or 'from the AMA' or through the latest xyz professional journal. Who among them has checked back to the source of the information?? Not one. They have no time for research. Too busy just trying to keep up.

Baby Blue said F in the water means 0.3 less decayed tooth surfaces per child. What does that mean? It's some kind of average, but is it worth all the fuss? Does anyone know the numbers for tooth decay in Oz? Is it true that all our capital cities are fluoridated except Brisbane?
:-)) bosshog
Posted by bosshog, Tuesday, 8 March 2005 7:47:23 PM
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Australian Study Shows Fluoridation: No Benefit

NEW YORK, Aug. 16 -- Dental examinations of 4800 South Australian ten- to fifteen-year-olds’ permanent teeth reveal unexpected results – similar cavity rates whether they drink fluoridated water or not, reports Armfield and Spencer in the August 2004 “Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology” (1).

Children sampled lived in fluoridated and nonfluoridated metropolitan and rural areas of the Australian state, South Australia.

Collected rainwater, or tank water, is the main non-fluoridated (non-public) water source for 37% of South Australians, 8% drink bottled water. The public water supply is fluoridated in Adelaide, South Australia’s capital city. The rest of South Australia is predominantly non-fluoridated, the authors report.

“The effect of consumption of nonpublic (non-fluoridated) water on permanent caries (cavities) experience was not significant,” report Armfield and Spencer.

“It should be noted that, as discussed here, the drinking of bottled or tank water is neither immediately deleterious nor beneficial to oral health in and of itself,” write the authors.


Actually, many studies show, after fluoridation ceases, cavities decline (2). Others reveal fluoridation is ineffective at reducing tooth decay (3a-j).

The media recently used the Australian study to blame fluoride-free bottled or tank water for increased cavity rates in primary or baby teeth (4). However, no decay data was included for one- to four-year-olds, the children with the most baby teeth. The studied group (5100 five- to nine-year-olds) already shed primary teeth, perhaps some decayed. This places doubt on the validity of the conclusion that fluoridated water is linked to decreased primary-tooth cavities in this population sample.


“Dental health crises exist in many, fluoridated cities (5); while residents of non-fluoridated Wichita, Kansas and Long Island, New York have better dental health than many fluoridated areas (6),” says Beeber.

References and the whole article:

New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc.
Posted by NYSCOF, Tuesday, 8 March 2005 8:58:22 PM
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