My Turn: Brush your teeth and keep fluoride out of city's water

Posted: Sunday, September 30, 2007

The fact is, if a person is not brushing their teeth on a regular basis, then no amount of fluoride in the water is going to prevent them from getting cavities. If they are brushing their teeth, then it's highly likely there is fluoride in their toothpaste.

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For writers to compare dental cavities to serious health issues like scurvy, rickets, dysentery and polio, is ridiculous. According to the "AHealthyMe" Web site, "Dysentery is not a disease but a symptom of a potentially deadly illness." "Signs of scurvy (caused by a lack of vitamin C) include tiredness, muscle weakness, joint and muscle aches, a rash on the legs, and bleeding gums. Scurvy is very rare in countries where fresh fruits and vegetables are readily available."

According to the Medline Plus Web site, "Rickets is primarily caused by lack of vitamin D, calcium, or phosphate, which leads to softening and weakening of the bones." The Mayo Clinic Web site regarding polio says the poliovirus "resides only in humans and enters the environment in the feces of someone who's infected. Polio is so contagious that anyone living with a recently infected person is likely to become infected too. Once poliovirus invades your body, it multiplies and then travels to your central nervous system. As it moves along your nerve fibers, poliovirus damages or destroys the motor neurons that carry messages between your brain and your muscles."

According to the Kids Health Web site: "Though cavities can be repaired, try to avoid them by taking care of your teeth. Here's how: Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste after each time you eat or at least twice a day. Bedtime is an important time to brush. Brush up and down in a circular motion. Gently brush your gums as well to keep them healthy. Floss your teeth once a day to remove plaque and food that's stuck between your teeth. Limit sweets and sugary drinks, like soda."

Nobody comes into my home to make sure I'm eating my fruits and vegetables to avoid scurvy, or carefully washing them and my hands before eating them to make sure I don't get dysentery. I have not been forced to take vitamin D to avoid rickets, and my mother chose to vaccinate me for polio when I was a child. She also taught me something - what a toothbrush is, and how to use it. Floss, too.

On Aug. 9, a formal ethics complaint and request for investigation was presented to the Ethics Subcommmittee of the Advisory Council to the Centers for Disease Control director and the CDC Public Health Ethics Committee. You can find the article, and many others at fluoridealert.org. The Ethics complaint is 28 pages, however, the main complaints are as follows: "Specifically, CDC has: Elected to omit vital information in its information disseminated to the public concerning vulnerable population groups that are particularly susceptible to harm from fluoride; chosen to ignore its own data showing disproportionate harm by dental fluorosis in minority populations and has not actively provided this information to these groups; demonstrated a severe ethical lapse in failing to appropriately disseminate its own change in policy that parents of infants be aware of the risk of dental fluorosis in their children and may wish to use unfluoridated water to mix their babies powdered milk formula; justified fluoridation in terms that mislead Americans into confusing the fundamental concepts of concentration versus dose.

This had led citizens to believe that a low concentration of fluoride in water cannot result in a harmful dose of the chemical, regardless of volume of water consumed and other sources of fluoride - and in this context CDC has also failed to appropriately disclose that fluoride can accumulate harmfully in the body over time; and misled the public concerning the results of studies about harm from ingested fluoride.

I'm sure everyone is as sick of this argument as I am - but the obvious solution is to leave the poison (fluoride) out of the water system, and simply brush your teeth!

• Kara R. Altman is a Juneau resident.



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