Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Fluoridation Does Not Save Money or Teeth

Fluoridation does not save money or teeth

Here's Why:

Eighty percent of all tooth decay occurs in about 20% of the population, usually low-income people who can't afford to pay a dentist. If they are poor enough, they qualify for government reimbursement programs, like Medicaid. Unfortunately, most over 80% of dentists refuse Medicaid patients.

When a small cavity isn't filled, it can grow, fester and absess and then qualifies for emergency room treatment, usually paid for by the government

Severe tooth decay is responsible for 2/3 of hospital visits by children under six in New York State (1), where almost 73% of the population drinks fluoridated water. Even in 100% fluoridated New York City, more children required cavity-related hospitalizations, proportionately, than two of New York State's largest non-fluoridated counties, Suffolk and Nassau, whether payment was made by Medicaid or privately.

One New York City hospital charged from $929 to $12,199 to treat 96 children with severely decayed teeth, excluding the dentist and anesthesiologist fees. Children needed extensive work including stainless steel crowns, extractions, root canal therapy, fillings, other restorations, periodontal procedures, surgeries and/or more.

New York State hospital charges for the 2,726 early childhood cavities-related surgical visits required by children under six, in 1999, lie anywhere between $2.5 and $33 million, report NYS Department of Health Dentists, Kumar and Green, and others, in the Winter 2003 Journal of Public Health Dentistry, who also report they may be underestimating the numbers of children so treated.

National Medicaid costs for hospital treatment of early childhood cavities are between $100 to $200 million annually.

Even after hospital treatment, these children return with new lesions, say Kumar and colleagues.

Additionally, in New York State, 18% lost 6 or more teeth due to decay or gum disease(2) while only 16% of non-fluoridated Long Islanders did.(3). While 21%% of Brooklyn(4) and 20% of Queens(5) residents lost six or more teeth. (Brooklyn and Queens are part of New York City and fluoridated.)

In fact, poor New York City children have more tooth decay than the national average, despite fluoridation(6). And many get no dental care.

This is how Jonathan Kozol explains it in his book Savage Inequalities about life in the South Bronx (NYC): “Bleeding gums, impacted teeth and rotting teeth are routine matters for children..... Children live for months with pain that grown-ups would find unendurable. …I have seen children with teeth that look like brownish, broken sticks. I have seen teenagers who were missing half their teeth....”

Also, NYC African American adults studied have more cavities than all adults nationally," reports "Dental Clinics of North America," January 2003.

In 1984, New York City spent 2.4 million dollars on fluoridation chemicals, equipment and manpower, according to a DEP letter answering a New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation freedom of information request (7). Now fluoride chemicals, alone, cost the city $6 million annually, "The New York Sun" reports (8). The cost today of fluoridation in New York City is somewhere between $6 - $14 million.

The city is wasting it's money.

Second-graders who live in non-fluoridated Long Island, New York, are more likely to be cavity-free than second graders nationally(9)

After over 50 years of water fluoridation, many children in Newburgh, New York have more cavities and more fluoride-caused discolored teeth (dental fluorosis) than children in never-fluoridated Kingston, New York, according to a New York State Department of Health study(10).

The Centers for Disease Control asserts that fluoridated water saves from $7 to $42 in dental care for every fluoridation dollar spent(11).

However, after decades of water fluoridation, virtually all Americans consume a fluoridated food and/or water supply. Yet, "dental spending outpaces economic growth, continuing a trend," reports the American Dental Association(12)

An October 2004 article in a New York State newspaper confirms fluoridation's uselessness:
Despite a tremendous effort to improve oral health in fluoridated Rochester and Monroe County, New York, lack of dental care has created a tooth decay crises. Fluoridation solves no problems and gives the illusion that organized dentistry actually is solving the problems outlined in the US Surgeon General's report that a tooth decay "silent" epidemic is taking place is America. (

Children need dentists not fluoride.


(1) "Early Childhood Caries-related Visits to Hospitals for Ambulatory Surgery in New York State," Wadhawan, Kumar, Badner, Green, Journal of Public Health Dentistry Vol 63 No.1, Winter 2003


7) 10/10/85 and 10/25/85 letters from Mekenian, NYC DEP, to Paul S. Beeber, NYSCOF


10) Figure 1, Page 41, "Recommendations for Fluoride Use in children" NYS Dental Journal, February 1998 (NYS Department of Health, 518-474-1961).



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