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Monday, January 21, 2008

Looking after our teeth

When Wrexham Labour AM, Lesley Griffiths raised the possibility of adding fluroide to our water in the chamber last week it was a bit of a bolt from the blue. I think everybody had assumed that this issue had been quietly sidelined.

In this morning's Western Mail she expands on that intervention calling for a national debate on the issue. She says: "I believe the scientific case has been made and fluoridation is one important tool that can be used in the prevention of tooth decay among children.

“In my own constituency of Wrexham, for example, research by the British Dental Association disclosed that decayed, missing or filled teeth among five-year-olds was higher than in most other parts of the UK."

That is not an argument for fluoridation, it is an argument for a radical overhaul of our dental services and the public health education that should be attached to them. I cannot better what I wrote on this subject on 1 April 2005:

We are all fond of instant solutions these days and often we will embrace a particular course of action because it seems painless, easy to achieve and most efficacious in every way. The reality is very different, because every action, particularly in the field of medicine, has a reaction.

In large enough doses fluoride is a poison. I read an article sometime ago that argued that fluoride affects the thyroid gland, causing teeth to grow more slowly. This therefore, also delays tooth decay. The author asserted that the real cause of cavities in teeth is the over-consumption of sugar in foods and drinks.

The average person consumes 150 pounds of sugar each year, that is the equivalent of approximately seventy five one kilogram bags or 33 tablespoons each day. Action to reduce the amount of sugar in processed food could have a dramatic effect on tooth decay without adding any unwanted substance to people's diet, but nobody seems to be advocating that.

The author of this article continued by asserting that fluroide suppresses the immune system and affects enzymes, disrupting many body functions. Fluoride poisoning can be seen through headaches, skin rashes, nausea, joint pains, mouth ulcers and allergic type reactions. In the long term it can lead to glaucoma, diabetes, kidney failure, arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer and heart attacks. Infant mortality is increased and I.Q. is impaired. He asserted that the old, the young and the ill are most at risk

Adding fluoride to our water supply is an infringement of our civil liberties. I do not believe that it is the business of government to create a “nanny state”. I believe that people should be able to choose their own lifestyles and the form of medication they receive, not have it administered against their will through their taps.
I agree.

Sticking fluoride in the water when the rest of the diet is so crap is like ordering a diet coke with your "size of a coffee table" pizza.

Dentists would be fighting aginst the tide even if dental services were faultless.
I agree, too. If some people cannot look after their teeth that's not a sufficient reason to dish out school-style collective punishments.

Lesley Griffiths said: “I believe the scientific case has been made and fluoridation is one important tool that can be used in the prevention of tooth decay among children."

Peter, I hope you can break the news to her that we're not all children.
Ha, yes! I can just see an emergency meeting of Labour AMs now: "Why not start flouridating drinking water? We'll take the money out of the same limited pot we're using to fund all the people who are taking advantage (or maybe taking something a bit less printable) of the free prescriptions for all by having their GPs prescribe Calpol and Vaseline! In the meantime, we won't need to do anything to address the needs of the people in Wales who can't get an NHS dentist to see their children, whose milk teeth are already rotting because they haven't once been able to see a dentist since they were born. We won't need to because our leaflets and press releases will make the people of Wales believe that now they have flouride in the water they will never need to bruch their teeth or eat anything more nutritious and healthy than a Mars bar ever again! Good job we won't need to, mind... we'd never be able to afford to sort out actual dentists for people after the way we've comprehensively screwed up the budget."

Do you know, when I last called NHS Direct to ask about dentists near my home in Pembrokeshire, as I like to do to amuse myself on a slow day, I was told the nearest NHS dentist with places available on the patient list was in - wait for it - Birmingham. Marvellous.
I read today "Fluoride in water improves the health of teeth, and has no negative side-effects. Therefore, we should fluoridize the water." I dont support this at all fluoride is a poison that accumulates in our bones and has been associated with cancer more than a few times! it is a is a corrosive poison that will produce serious effects on a long range basis.
So now way does it have "no negative side-effects." and as i was researching it i also read "Even small amounts of fluoride consumed from tap water can damage your bones, teeth, brain, disrupt your thyroid function, lower IQ and/or cause cancer, according to evidence revealed in a groundbreaking 2006 National Research Council (NRC) fluoride report produced by a panel of experts who reviewed hundreds of published fluoride studies."

Love the post!
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