Our Thoughts on Fluoride

The issue of water fluoridation has certainly been a charged issue in our community in the recent month.  Please read our recent submission to the Editor of the Aspen Times.

Dear Editor,

We are practicing dentists in the Roaring Fork Valley and we would like to offer our opinion on the Snowmass Water and Sanitation District Board’s recent actions. It is very exciting that the issue of community water fluoridation is being discussed in our valley; however, many times the topic of water fluoridation turns into a “good guy, bad guy” scenario, when in fact both sides are lobbying for the health and wellness of the residents of the Roaring Fork Valley. That being said, we are in favor of the Board upholding their recent decision to remove fluoride from the water supply of Snowmass.

Our reasons are as follows:

  • We are against the addition of sodium fluorosilicate, an unpurified by-product of the phosphate fertilizer industry, a product sourced from China, being added to the drinking water of Snowmass. We are concerned that the residents of Snowmass are willing to ingest any medication that is not of pharmaceutical grade.
  • We are against any medication being added to the water that is not titrated dependent on weight. Any medication, including 0.7ppm of Fluoride acts dramatically different both physiologically and biochemically in a 45-pound child than it does in a 195-pound adult. This is exactly why there is an established dietary fluoride schedule based on the age (and subsequently weight) for children.
  • We are concerned that people are failing to recognize the cumulative dose of fluoride people are receiving. Even the National Resource Council stated that it is difficult to estimate how much fluoride is ingested overall. Fluoride is present in sodas, sports drinks, bottled waters, juices, wines, processed foods and even certain medications. Many people, and unfortunately too great of a percentage of our lower income population, are drinking sodas and sports drinks, and are eating processed foods, all of which contain fluoride, and unfortunately this population still presents with a high incidence of dental decay.
  • The level of fluoride incorporated into dental mineral by systemic ingestion is insufficient to play a role in decay prevention. The effect of systemically ingested fluoride on dental decay is minimal.
  • Fluoride is not an essential nutrient. There is not a single biological process in the human body that requires fluoride. Exposing people to systemic fluoride has systemic effects, its effects are not just localized to teeth. Fluoride is an endocrine disruptor, it has global effects on the bones, brain, thyroid and pineal glands, the effects of which can cause a cascade of significant future health issues. By applying a systemic Band-Aid in the hopes of addressing the incidence of one disease, you open the door to creating health challenges that can be just as, if not more difficult to manage.
  • We would however like to acknowledge fluoride’s effectiveness, topically. Topical fluoride inhibits bacterial metabolism, enhances remineralization, and it inhibits demineralization. All of which can fully occur without a person swallowing a single drop of fluoride.
  • The great thing is, even if the Board upholds its decision to remove fluoride from the water supply, and if the residents of Snowmass decide using fluoride is in their, and their family’s, best interest, it can still be found. You can still use it. You can find it in your toothpastes, mouthwashes, varnishes, foods and drinks, you can even ingest it systemically by supplementing with fluoride drops if you so desire.

Please know that no one has a more vested interest in maintaining the oral health of our community than its local dentists, ourselves included. But the time has come for all of us to acknowledge there are better, and safer ways of managing tooth decay.

Rebecca L. Steinbach, DDS

Schuyler H. Van Gorden, DDS