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Fluoridation Does Not Reduce Tooth Decay - Health Ministry Figures Show

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Fluoridation Does Not Reduce Tooth Decay - Health Ministry Figures Show

Ministry of Health 2008 dental statistics for NZ show no benefit from fluoridation. This mirrors research published last year by the American Dental Association, also showing no benefit, from a study of 39,000 US children.

The average Decayed Missing or Filled Teeth (DMFT) is 0.93 in Wellington and Auckland, in both fluoridated in non-fluoridates areas. The percent of children "caries-free" (without any tooth decay) is 63% in non-fluoridated areas - 1% better than the fluoridated ones, though this is statistically meaningless.

For the rest of NZ, the figures are 44% and 45% caries-free respectively. And the difference in DMFT - 1 tenth (in practice, 1 tenth of a filling). "This is clinically meaningless, and less than annual variations" says Mark Atkin of Fluoridation-Free NZ Coalition.

So why does the Ministry claim there is a 30% benefit from fluoridation?

The published statistics mix high and low socioeconomic (SE) cities and towns to give an overall national figure. "But this is scientifically invalid. SE status (think decile level) is the main influence on tooth decay" explains Mr Atkin. "So you cannot say if it is this or fluoridation that is causing the difference, until you eliminate the SE differences."

Auckland and Wellington (highest SE status in NZ) account for 37% of the statistics for 12 year old children.

"So to compare apples with apples, we separated Auckland and Wellington from the rest of NZ, to provide a rough control for SE status" continues Mr Atkin. "If there were any real benefit from fluoridation, both groups would show this. But what we see is that neither group shows any benefit."

"Mixed together the Ministry's figures give a false result of an apparent benefit of 1/2 a filling (DMFT), which the Ministry spins as 31% to make it sound impressive. I guess when you have 50 years of science proving fluoridation simply does not work, spin doctoring is the only avenue left to the Ministry" laments Mr Atkin, a trained scientist.

Source: Fluoride Action Network NZ Inc

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