A study on fluoridated water in Canada has stirred controversy.
The study, led by Canada’s York University and published in August in the prestigious JAMA Pediatrics journal, found that for every one milligram increase in the daily intake of fluoride, there was on average a corresponding 3.66 decline in the children’s IQ score.
In a statement “Policy on Use of Fluoride,” the Philippine Pediatric Dental Society (PPSDI) affirms “that fluoride is a safe and effective adjunct in reducing the risk of caries and reversing enamel demineralization and encourages public health officials, health care providers, and parents/caregivers to optimize fluoride exposure.”
“The PPDSI recognizes that there is no water fluoridation in the Philippines except on certain areas in the province of Cavite. Effective systemic fluoridation can be achieved through the intake of daily fluoride supplements.”
“Before supplements are prescribed, it is essential to review dietary sources of fluoride (e.g. all drinking water sources, consumed beverages, prepared food, toothpaste) to determine the patient’s true exposure to fluoride.”
“The forms of systemic fluoride in the Philippines are in drops, fluoridated bottled water and as a part in multi-vitamin syrup. Considering the potential for mild fluorosis, caution is advised for those who are given systemic fluoride.”
(Fluorosis is caused by excessive exposure to fluoride and may result to discoloration of the teeth.)
“Since the majority of the Philippines has no water fluoridation, topical application of fluoride is highly recommended. Significant cariostatic benefits can be achieved by the use of over-the-counter fluoride-containing preparations such as toothpastes, gels, and rinses.”
(Cariostatic means the prevention of tooth decay.)
“Monitoring children’s use of topical fluoride-containing products, including toothpaste, may prevent ingestion of excessive amounts of fluoride,” the PPSDI statement continues. “Numerous clinical trials have confirmed the anti-caries effect of professional topical fluoride treatments.”
Mind you, that policy statement was posted on the PPSDI website before the new study was released this August.
In the United States, the use of fluoride in drinking water started early last century. Since then, studies indicate that high levels of fluoride could be toxic to the brains of rats.
However, fluoride concentration in tap water in the United States and other countries are considered within safe levels.
American and Canadian health authorities recommend a limit to fluoride concentration: 0.7 milligrams per liter. This is to prevent fluorosis or overexposure to fluoride.
Health Canada estimates that nearly half (40 percent) of Canadians drink fluoridated water. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that tap water in about three out of four homes in the United States is fluoridated water.
Nearly all (97 percent) of the populations in Europe don’t drink fluoridated water without visible impacts on their oral health.
Because of its contribution to the decline of tooth decay and cavities in the United States, however, community water fluoridation is considered by the CDC as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century./WDJ