In my 42 years as a practicing physician, including 28 years in public health, I have seen dozens of presentations from anti fluoride lobbyists and I have reviewed the evidence on fluoride practice many times.
I have learned that adding supplemental fluoride to water systems that don’t contain enough to protect the population against dental caries (decay) is an effective and safe public health intervention that contributes substantially to improved dental health, especially among children and vulnerable adults such as seniors or those on a fixed income. The evidence is reviewed on an ongoing basis by such organizations as Health Canada, the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Paediatric Society, the Canadian Dental Association, the American Dental Association, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Public Health Service and its Centers for Disease Control, and the Fédération Dentaire Internationale, all of which continue to endorse the practice along with almost every dentist and physician in BC.
A position statement and links to other credible sources of information on this topic can be found on the Northern Health website by searching for “fluoridation” or simply visiting http://northernhealth.ca/YourHealth/PublicHealth/DentalHealth/Fluoridation.aspx.
In Northern Health alone, about 1000 people a year undergo general anesthesia in order to extract or restore teeth which have become dangerous sources of infection. 75% of these surgeries are done on children, almost all from communities in which the water contains inadequate levels of fluoride. On the other side of the coin, I have yet to see a single person requiring so much as a day in hospital from fluoride damage to their teeth or bones in spite of the remarkable claims of harm cited by anti fluoride groups.
Communities like Terrace should be commended for the excellent job they do in ensuring that fluoride and chlorine levels are maintained at levels that are sufficient to protect public health while at the same time keeping them well within the Canadian Drinking Water standards to ensure safety.
David Bowering, MD, MHSc.
Northwest Medical Health Officer
Northern Health, Terrace, BC