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Fluoride rant had wrong info

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VIRGINIA FELDMAN, M.D. and ERIC BRODY, M.D.

The Oregonian said it best: 'Oregon isn't known for its movie star teeth, unless you count horror movies.'

Two-thirds of the U.S. population drinks from fluoridated water supplies and it has a 60-year history of safety and effectiveness. Yet anti-fluoridationists like Dr. Osmunson continue to spread untruths.

Untruth No. 1 - European Dental Association no longer recommends fluoridation.

Fact: Europeans are very pro fluoride, they just use different vehicles to deliver fluoride to the public as many people do not drink public water. So, using the public water system to provide fluoride for public health doesn't make sense. Examples are fluoridated salt at 200-250 parts per million, fluoridated chewing gum, and fluoride varnish (at 22,600 parts per million concentration). In the UK, where the water is mostly potable and people drink it, fluoridation is more widespread. Ireland has a majority of its public water systems fluoridated. Great Britain, while only 10 percent fluoridated, has been discussing ways to increase fluoridation of its public water supplies.

Untruth No. 2 - Harvard study links boys who drink fluoridated water with an increased risk of bone cancer.

Fact: There is no proven association between fluoridated water and bone cancer in the preliminary study by Bassin as part of her doctoral thesis for the Harvard School of Dental medicine. In fact, an accompanying letter by a faculty member of that institution cautions against using the results of this preliminary study in formulating public policy about fluoridation, because his larger study with a more direct measure of biologic exposure to fluoride fails to confirm the finding. Dr. Donald Austin of OHSU and an expert in oncology/epidemiology reviewed Bassin's thesis and agrees that there is no connection.

Untruth No. 3 - New warnings on mixing infant formula with fluoridated water.

Fact: Breast milk is best and new moms in Oregon rank No. 1 in the U.S. for breastfeeding at 89 percent. There is a small increased risk of the milder forms of fluorosis if powdered infant formula is given as the primary source of nutrition. However, it is important to understand that flourosis is not a disease and these children will benefit from fluoride's protection against cavities.This is not an argument to avoid fluoridation for the other 79 years of people's lives. The most efficacious way to reduce cavities throughout our lifespan is delivering frequent small amounts of fluoride to one's teeth via water.

'Some would have you believe that a public warning on this matter has been issued, and that the ADA is now saying that fluoridation poses a danger to children, which is flat out wrong,' states Dr. Pollick of the UCSF School of Dentistry. 'The public should know that both the dental professional community and the scientific community continue to support fluoridation based on an overwhelming number of juried scientific studies and reviews.'

The facts are:

1) Virtually every major dental, medical, scientist and public health organization in the U.S. recognizes water fluoridation as safe, effective, economical, and socially equitable.

2) Fluoridation will reduce the rate of decay between 18 and 40 percent. This will save our state millions of dollars, especially in Medicaid expenses for our low-income population.

3) Specifically, for every dollar spent for fluoridation, we will save $38 in dental repair costs.

Lastly, we want to share a quote by former Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. David Satcher:

'Fluoridation is the single-most-effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay and improve oral health over a lifetime for both children and adults'.

House Bill 3099 will be voted on soon in the House. We urge everyone to contact their legislators to vote for this important public health measure.

Mary Lynn O'Brien, MD

Lake Oswego

Virginia Feldman, MD

Portland

Eric Brody, MD

Lake Oswego