Fluoride fills vital role

I have been a dentist in Red Deer for over 30 years. When I first came here, I was amazed to see the lack of caries (decay) and dental restorations (fillings) in children.

Re. water fluoridation.

I have been a dentist in Red Deer for over 30 years. When I first came here, I was amazed to see the lack of caries (decay) and dental restorations (fillings) in children.

I could identify the location of a person’s upbringing just by looking in their mouth. Where fluoride had been in the drinking water (Red Deer, Lacombe, Wetaskiwin, Edmonton), there were few if any dental restorations (fillings). Where fluoride was not in the water (Sylvan Lake, Calgary and some rural and northern communities), the patient had a mouth full of caries, dental restorations (fillings, crowns) and missing teeth.

If I had to restore 12 cavities a year on Red Deer children under 16, that would be unusual.

With the marketing of fruit juice and fruit snacks as if they were equivalent to fresh fruit (which they are not) and the increase in consumption of sweetened beverages, I am restoring on average one cavity a day on children under 16. Even with fluoride in the water, that strengthens the dentin and enamel of the tooth, this increase in dental caries is quite an extraordinary development.

If the City of Red Deer takes out fluoride from its drinking water, I am afraid to predict what will happen to the oral health of the future generations of our citizens. The most vulnerable of our citizens, the children, would be the most affected by the removal of fluoride from the drinking water. They would inevitably look forward to a lifetime of dental problems.

I would also expect our dental profession to be totally overwhelmed by the increase of caries that will inevitably be the result of fluoride removal from our drinking water.

The argument against fluorine is that it is a poisonous element. Chlorine is a deadly poison and is universally added to our water supply (and in equal or greater concentrations than fluoride) to kill bacteria and prevent disease. No one is seeking to remove chlorine from the water supply.

My point is not to promote the use of poisonous substances, but to make the case that if used properly, their benefits outweigh their risks.

If city council takes the position to remove the fluoride from our drinking water against most reputable scientific studies and succumbs to the will of a few vocal and fanatic individuals, you will be responsible for the generations of dental decay in the mouths of our future citizens.

I do not envy you your position.

Please consult the dental professionals who are experts in this field and are at the front lines in the protection of our citizens’ dental health.

Please take a stand against fluoride removal and consider the ramifications of not doing so. I am closer to the end of my career than the beginning and am grateful that I was able to help as many individuals with their oral health as I have been, but I am quite apprehensive of the future of a Red Deer without water fluoridation.

Dr. Jo Scalzo DDS

Red Deer

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