At the beginning of the month, ASDAblog.com published a disconcerting article about how different media outlets have portrayed dentists lately. For instance, the site brings up RD’s article called “How Dentists Rip Us Off,” and talks about how many news resources illustrate dentists as professionals who only care about their bottom line and not their patient’s interests.
Not only do these articles drag dentists through the mud in regards to ethics, but some even undercut their professional recommenations. For example, an Associated Press report found that flossing was an ineffective habit; of course, this report frustrated many dentists who were able to cite studies and their own experiences with treatment plans.
So what’s the latest attack these days? According to a Donna Domino, a features editor at DrBicuspid.com, the media is portraying fluoridation in a negative light, which is obviously frustrating for professionals trying to help patients with preventative dentistry treatments:
Johnny Johnson Jr., DMD, president of the newly formed American Fluoridation Society (AFS) got into the fluoridation fight when local officials in his community of Pinellas County, FL, voted in 2011 to discontinue water fluoridation, citing concern that residents might be ingesting too much fluoride . . .
“I thought she was kidding, but she was serious,” he recounted. “I explained there’s been no literature that found any connection whatsoever between water fluoridation and cancer, and I sent her information. She was blown away by the research and said she had definitely been misled.” In another incident, a public health student told him there was “lots of debate about toxins and arsenic in fluoride.” Dr. Johnson replied: “There’s no debate; the science is crystal clear.”
. . . The main thing that healthcare professionals can do is be aware of what’s going on in their communities regarding water fluoridation, Dr. Johnson advised. Letters to newspapers and noticing what people are saying about the issue are tip-off’s about efforts against community water fluoridation.
Although not directly linked, this concern over fluoridation may be blowback from Flint, Michigan’s problems. After all, water safety has been a big topic in the media over the last few years, so it would make sense that people are concerned about everything and anything in their water.
However, even Dr. Murthy–the U.S. Surgeon General–approves water fluoridation due to its oral health benefits. He even cites the CDC, which calls it one of the 10 best health achievements of the previous century.
As you can imagine, many dentists are frustrated by these anti-fluoridation reports, and so Deborah Foote–another contributor of DrBicuspid.com laid out the benefits of this practice:
As the U.S. has been fluoridating water systems for 70 years, we have yet to see any evidence of these claimed ill health effects in communities that fluoridate their water. Hundreds of organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Public Health Association, support community water fluoridation as a proven public health intervention.
Dental disease is the most common childhood disease and is associated with diabetes, adverse pregnancy outcomes, heart disease, and lost school and work hours. Fluoridated water decreases tooth decay by nearly 25% in children and adults, and it saves communities money by reducing costs and lost work hours spent on repairing tooth decay. For most cities, every $1 invested in water fluoridation saves $38 in unnecessary dental treatment costs, according to the CDC.
It is time that this false debate end, and we can put our energies toward solving the real problems facing our communities.
Clearly, fluoridation helps with cost of care, the mitigation of secondary illness, and the reduction of tooth decay. If you have any questions regarding fluoridation or other preventative dentistry practices, be sure to talk with your dentist and do your research.