Why pay more for tooth damage?

Wilmington City Council is about to vote on water fluoridation and is currently considering the cost of installation and storage facilities. What they have failed to consider is the future cost in additional damage to kids’ teeth. For every cavity that is prevented by water fluoridation, four teeth will suffer moderate to severe dental fluorosis and an additional almost 10 teeth will suffer mild dental fluorosis. What is surprising is the fact that those for and against fluoridation all agree with the same raw data as follows:

1. The current level of DMF teeth in the US is about 1 for 12-year-olds (WHO chart).

2. The current effectiveness level claimed for water fluoridation is 25 percent (1987 US study).

3. Dental fluorosis is now 41 percent of American adolescents with 8.6 percent having mild fluorosis and 3.6 percent having moderate to severe fluorosis (CDC).

No data is available for how many teeth are damaged in a mouth with mild, moderate or severe fluorosis, but a search of “PICS” on the internet shows why. All teeth (28) are affected (wisdom teeth are not counted). The rest is simple math. For 100 adolescents: 1. Cavities prevented = 100 X item 1 X item 2 = 100 X 1 X 0.25 = 25; 2. teeth with mild fluorosis = 100 X item 3 (mild) X 28, = 100 X 0.086 X 28 = 240.8.

I challenge any city council member to find significant fault with this analysis. Fixing dental fluorosis will be very expensive (bleaching for mild; microabrasion, macroabrasion, veneer or crowning for moderate to severe). For this reason alone, fluoridation isn’t smart. It’s absolutely stupid.

Thomas E. Brausch Sr.