Monday, August 16, 2004
Dental examinations of 4800 South Australian ten- to fifteen-year-olds'
permanent teeth reveal unexpected results - similar cavity rates whether
they drink fluoridated water or not, reports Armfield and Spencer in the
August 2004 "Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology"(1).
Children sampled lived in fluoridated and nonfluoridated metropolitan and
rural areas of the Australian state, South Australia.
Collected rainwater, or tank water, is the main non-fluoridated (non-public)
water source for 37% of South Australians, 8% drink bottled water. The
public water supply is fluoridated in Adelaide, South Australia's capital
city. The rest of South Australia is predominantly non-fluoridated, the
"The effect of consumption of nonpublic (non-fluoridated) water on permanent
caries (cavities) experience was not significant," report Armfield and
"It should be noted that, as discussed here, the drinking of bottled or tank
water is neither immediately deleterious nor beneficial to oral health in
and of itself," write the authors.
The American Dental Association asserts that fluoridation provides 15-35%
cavity reductions in fourteen to seventeen-year-olds. But South Australian
adolescents averaged less than 1 ½ decayed, missing or filled permanent
tooth surfaces (28 teeth have 128 surfaces), whether they drank fluoridated
water or not.
Actually, many studies show, after fluoridation ceases, cavities decline(2).
Others reveal fluoridation is ineffective at reducing tooth decay(3a-j).
The media recently used the Australian study to blame fluoride-free bottled
or tank water for increased cavity rates in primary or baby teeth(4).
However, no decay data was included for one- to four-year-olds, the children
with the most baby teeth. The studied group (5100 five- to nine-year-olds)
already shed primary teeth, perhaps some decayed. This places doubt on the
validity of the conclusion that fluoridated water is linked to decreased
primary-tooth cavities in this population sample.
"Cities waste millions of dollars fluoridating their water supplies; but the
poor, malnourished or less educated still get the most cavities and the
least dental care," says lawyer Paul Beeber, President, New York State
Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation.
"Dental health crises exist in many, fluoridated cities(5); while residents
of non-fluoridated Wichita, Kansas and Long Island, NY, have better dental
health than many fluoridated areas(6)," says Beeber
1) Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, August 2004
Consumption of nonpublic water: implications for children's caries
experience, byArmfield JM, Spencer AJ.
2) "When Fluoridation Ends - So Do Cavities"
3a) Quintessence Internation, May 2002, "Dental caries and fluorosis in low-
and high-fluoride areas in Turkey.
Ermis RB, Koray
F, Akdeniz BG.
b) Journal of Rural Health, Summer 2003, "Oral health status of children and
adolescents by rural residence, United States." by
Clemencia M. Vargas, DDS, PhD; Cynthia R. Ronzio, PhD; and Kathy L. Hayes,
d) FLUORIDE 31(2),1998, pp 103-118
(5) Cavity Crises Exist in Fluoridated Cities
(6) "Dentists Award the Cavity-prone and Toothless,"
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