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Health Ministry figures again show fluoridation pointless

Health Ministry figures again show fluoridation pointless

The 2009 school dental statistics have been released by the Ministry of Health. “As in 2008, these show no real benefit from fluoridation, but that socioeconomic (SE) status (decile) is the main factor in tooth decay says Mark Atkin, spokesperson for health activist organisation Fluoride Action Network NZ. Yet remarkably, low decile Counties Manukau shows less decay in the un fluoridated children. “So much for fluoridation helping the poor!” adds Mr Atkin. Once again the Ministry claims total figures, unadjusted for SE status, as showing around 30% benefit for 11-12 years olds. But splitting these between higher and lower SE areas shows no statistically significant difference in DMFT (tooth decay, mainly number of fillings) or percent of children without any decay for the high decile areas. Even in the low decile areas, the claimed benefit (1/5 th of a filling, and 3% extra caries-free children) is within fluctuations since 2000.

“The figures also do not allow for the one year delay in tooth eruption, and therefore decay rates, caused by fluoridation” says Mr Atkin. “They just compare children of the same age, which gives a false impression of reduced, rather than slightly delayed, decay. If we adjusted for this, the fluoridated areas would likely show more decay than the unfluoridated areas.” The only properly conducted study examining the effects of this delay (Komarek, 2005), formerly shown by a 14 year study published in 1961, confirmed the delay, and found no difference in decay rates once comparing teeth at the same time after eruption, rather than the age of the children.

Only 25 out of 69 NZ local authorities add fluoride to their water supplies, in the form of hazardous waste according to the substances’ Safety Data Sheets [1]. Very few countries fluoridate their water.


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