Fluoride a distraction from the real issue

Posted: Sunday, September 30, 2007

Juneau's profluoride group likes the warm fuzzy feeling you get from the mistaken notion that you are helping the poor, but their attitude reflects a genuine misunderstanding about what it means to be poor.

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Using grants and loans, I was able to go to college and get a good job with insurance, but I cannot forget what it was like being uninsured.

I came from a poor family, but thankfully I did not know exactly how poor. My parents tell me now that there were a few times when they did not know where next week's food was coming from. I was 14 years old the first time I saw a dentist, and I had a screaming tooth ache.

My first set of X-rays found 22 cavities. There was fluoride in the drinking water where I lived, and I brushed my teeth regularly. I didn't lack fluoride; I lacked insurance. Every dentist knows regular check-ups are essential, and poor people can't afford them. The fluoridation issue is a distraction from fact that we don't have universal health care. American Dental Association is shirking its responsibility to America's poor.

The ADA shifts the responsibility for caring for poor kid's teeth off the shoulders of dentists and onto the shoulders of municipal water districts. Even the most rabid fluoride supporters admit that preventative care is vastly more effective than putting toxins in the water. Many doctors and dentists concur that there is no benefit whatsoever in ingesting fluoride and that fluoride creates other problems in your body. However, fluoridation in drinking water gives concerned citizens the mistaken notion that they are helping the poor.

Fluoride is toxic and it increases the risk of cancer, osteoporosis and several other serious conditions.

What poor kids really need is access to regular dental checkups and cleanings, but these are more expensive than taking the easy way out and medicating the entire community. I have had a lot of cavities in my lifetime and they are no big deal compared to cancer and osteoporosis. My mom has the latter and she still doesn't have insurance.

Carl Reese

Juneau



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