Tooth decay in the formerly-fluoridated Hastings and Havelock North has continued to decline since fluoridation ceased in 2016, according to official School Dental Data says Dr Neil Waddell, former Professor of Dental Materials at the School of Dentistry, University of Otago.
Dr Waddell, goes on to state that “It was declining at the same rate as the unfluoridated areas of the Hawke’s Bay before fluoridation ceased and has continued to decline at the same rate as those areas since fluoridation ceased. So why the hysteria about reintroducing it?”
“Similarly, in Taranaki, tooth decay was declining at the same rate in the fluoridated areas as the unfluoridated areas before New Plymouth ceased fluoridation in 2011. It has continued to decline at exactly the same rate in New Plymouth and the other unfluoridated areas as the communities that continue to fluoridate their water. Again, proof of no benefit, in this case with a statistical certainty of 10,000 to 1.”
In 2015 the Cochrane Review found no scientific evidence that fluoridation was of benefit to anyone in today’s society, while poor quality studies indicated benefit before 1975. Cochrane was considered the gold standard of scientific health review at that time. The review confirmed the findings of the York Review in 2000, finding that no reliable science had emerged in the intervening 15 years to support the claim that water fluoridation provided any benefit.
Supporting Cochrane’s analysis, the 10 Year CATFISH (Cumbria Assessment of Teeth – a Fluoride Intervention Study for Health) fluoridation study from the University of Manchester published November 2022 found that fluoridation’s effects on tooth decay in children were “very modest” and “much smaller than previous studies have reported.” [Goodwin 2022]. In the younger cohort, there was a modest 4% reduction in caries incidence. There was insufficient evidence as to whether water fluoridation prevents decay in older children with a difference of only 2.8%.
The 4% difference was not considered large enough to justify water fluoridation. “Other ways of preventing tooth decay may be better now that use of fluoride toothpaste is so common, and levels of tooth decay are much lower than they were 40 years ago.” This is particularly applicable to NZ as a there is a legal requirement for there to be a justifiable cost-benefit ratio before implementing fluoridation.
The research also found that people from more deprived areas had more decay in both the fluoridated and non-fluoridated groups.
Fluoridation is not effective, and it is certainly not safe with the top US Government agency, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) recently finding that 52 of 55 human fluoride IQ studies lowered IQ, the average reduction being 7 IQ points. The NTP research is set to take centre stage in a court case to judge fluoride’s neurotoxicity in San Francisco’s Federal Court scheduled to run from 31 January to 14 February.
It’s time to end the unsafe and ineffective practice of fluoridation and implement a Kiwi version of Scotland’s Childsmile Program.