An Inconvenient Tooth



Hailed as a harmless chemical that would prevent tooth decay, new evidence shows how fluoride could be linked to serious health problems.

Fluoridation was first advanced in the US at the end of the second World War. Proponents argued that fluoride in water and toothpaste would help to protect teeth and prevent decay. Over the following decades, fluoride was added to public water supplies across the country.

While the benefits of fluoridation have been held to be unquestionable, accumulating evidence points to a frightening prospect: that fluoride may have serious adverse health effects, including infant mortality, congenital defects and IQ.


Dr. Hardy Limeback, DDS, PhD, is head of the Department of Preventive Dentistry at the University of Toronto, and president of the Canadian Association for Dental Research. He is Canadas leading fluoride authority, and until recently the nations primary fluoride promoter. Two years ago he changed his mind. He publically apologized for 15 years of misleading the people of Canada on the issue of fluoridation. Dr. Limeback said that Toronto, fluoridated for 36 years, has a higher incidence of cavities than Vancouver, which has never fluoridated their water. He said the Centers for Disease Control are basing their fluoride recommendation on 50-year-old studies that dont reflect new research.

Dr John Colquhoun was the Principal Dental Officer for Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand, and a staunch fluoridation advocate until he was given the task of reviewing the world-wide data on fluoride effectiveness and safety. His review is titled Why I Changed My Mind About Fluoridation. In it, he details how data was manipulated to support fluoridation in the English-speaking countries.

Dr. Phyllis Mullinex was commissioned by the US Army, MEDCOM to research possible neurological effects of fluoridating the water supply at Fort Detrick, Maryland. She worked at Harvard University Dental School. She expected a routine investigation. However, her results shocked even herself when she found that rats fed fluoride developed a variety of neurological defects. She was forced to advise the army not to fluoridate and lost her job as a result.

Perhaps the most incredible turnaround is by the Environmental Protection Agencys Union of Scientists and Engineers. In May 1999, they announced they oppose their own agencys stand on water fluoridation. Senior vice-president of the union, Dr. William Hurzy wrote, recent, peer-reviewed toxicity data, when applied to EPAs standard method for controlling risks from toxic chemicals, require an immediate halt to the use of the nations drinking water reservoirs as disposal sites for the toxic waste of the phosphate fertilizer industry.


Tooth decay has indeed decreased around the world. However, fluoride is not the cause. Tooth decay has declined as much or more in non-fluoridated areas as in those with fluoridation. This has been reported in Germany, British Columbia, New Zealand, Cuba, Finland, and the United States. Some small studies show slight benefits of fluoridation. One American study of 39,207 children showed reduced decay of deciduous teeth in 5-year olds in fluoridated areas compared with unfluoridated areas, but no reduction in decay in permanent teeth. The larger studies worldwide show little or no dental benefits of water fluoridation.

The Journal Fluoride, Vol. 27, #1, 13-22, 1994 reported that in a study of 98% of the children in New Zealand over 14 years, fluoridation had no dental benefit on these children. In fact, non-fluoridated communities had slightly less decay. Tooth decay correlated with the level of income and nutrition, not fluoridation.

A study of over 400,000 children in India also showed no benefit of water fluoridation. Studies in England and Scotland found the same result. Dr. Albert Schatz, discoverer of streptomycin, found the same thing in Chile in a study spanning 40 years. A recent study in Tucson, Arizona by Dr. Cornelius Steelink, University of Arizona, showed an increase in decayed, missing or filled teeth with increased fluoride in the drinking water.

As a result of these and other studies, almost all major nations except the US and Britain have stopped fluoridating. 98% of Europe has stopped it. Ireland, one of the few European nations still doing it, is considering discontinuing it. Canada has advised against giving it to children less than 6 years old. India, China and Japan studied it thoroughly and discontinued it (1).

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