Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

No evidence that fluoridation harmful

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Dear Editor,

Re: Remove fluoride (Letters, Jan. 31). More than 100 government agencies and national and international professional health organizations support water fluoridation. These agencies include the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Canada and both the Canadian and American dental associations. They all agree that adding fluoride to drinking water at recommended levels (0.7 mg per litre of water) reduces tooth decay.

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In Canada, studies proving this date back to 1945 in Brantford, Ont. Over 50 years of extensive worldwide research has demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of water fluoridation in reducing the incidence of dental decay.

Today, in Manitoba, almost 95 per cent of the population supplied by a public water supply source receives fluoridated water. Fluoride works both topically and systemically to prevent tooth decay by increasing the resistance of tooth enamel to dental decay. Fluoride has been proven over and over again to reduce dental decay in children by approximately 18-40 per cent. With every $1 spent on adding fluoride to the public water supply it is estimated that $38 is saved in the cost of dental treatment.

Concerns by some that water fluoridation is toxic and harmful are false. There is no scientific evidence to support these allegations. The recommended level of fluoride added to the water supply has a built-in margin of safety that takes into consideration the use of fluoride from other sources on the most vulnerable age group in the population (22-36 months). Of the thousands of credible scientific studies on fluoridation, none has shown health problems associated with the consumption of optimally fluoridated water. Water fluoridation not only allows fluoride uptake by the enamel of the unerupted developing teeth but also provides fluoride uptake by the enamel of erupted teeth through saliva.

Although water fluoridation has been proven to benefit all residents of the community, the population that benefit the most are children, seniors and the hardest to reach -- the poor, for whom other preventative measures may not be accessible. Dental disease is the number one chronic disease among children and adolescents in North America.

The Manitoba Dental Association supports fluoridation of community drinking water. We believe that fluoridated water is safe, helps prevent tooth decay, and is the most cost effective way to prevent dental disease in the general population.

Amarjit Rihal

President

Manitoba Dental Association

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 4, 2013 A10

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