Saturday, December 15, 2012

Once Again - "Follow the Money" Appears to be a Great Motivator

December 15, 2012
Fluoride Action

STOP PRESS NEWS: The town of Bradford, Vermont has reaffirmed their position to end fluoridation after local dentists' demands were met with a public forum on fluoridation as well as a second Commission discussion and vote on the issue.

Charlie Brown, Counsel for Consumers for Dental Choice

...Charlie Brown and his group have been brilliant at driving a wedge between the ADA and their friends at the FDA. We need to follow their example and drive a wedge between the ADA and the Oral Health Division at the CDC (the tweedledum and tweedledee of fluoridation promotion). That means getting more respectable scientists, toxicologists and medical experts at the CDC, who are not affiliated to the Oral Health Division, to investigate the travesty that is going on in their agency’s name.

Paul Connett, PhD,
Director of FAN, and co-author of The Case Against Fluoride.

Moving Dentistry into the 21st Century…Kicking and Screaming If Necessary

By Charlie Brown
Having battled the dental establishment for decades, I know what Dr. Paul Connett and this team at Fluoride Action Network are up against. Fighting to end the use of dental amalgam (a.k.a. mercury fillings), Consumers for Dental Choice faces some of the same challenges: the same stagnant government policies…the same outdated “science”…and the same paternalistic dental industry.

Here’s just a sampling of the absurdities we encounter:

First, its promoters claim that fluoridation is safe because it has been around for over half a century. This is just as nonsensical as the patently unscientific claim I hear all the time: mercury fillings are safe because they have been used for over 150 years…since the time of mercury calomel to treat syphilis, anesthetic-free amputations, and bleeding cures. Keep in mind, fluoridation started at a time when asbestos lined our pipes, lead was added to gasoline, and DDT was deemed safe enough to spray on children. These were all long-established, government-approved practices – but that didn’t make them safe. And it doesn’t make outdated dental procedures safe either.

Second, its promoters claim that fluoridation is effective at preventing dental caries. Yet, simple experience is enough to raise doubts. After all, if fluoride had been as effective at preventing dental caries as alleged, we would not need so many fillings…so dentists would not be using any mercury for fillings…so there would be no debate about using mercury for fillings…and so Consumers for Dental Choice would not exist. But Consumers for Dental Choice does exist because despite fluoridation, people do get caries and these people need fillings. (Happily, an ever-increasing number of these people choose mercury-free fillings!). 
Third, its promoters claim that fluoridation is actually a human right. It’s our “right” to have a chemical dumped into our water supply without our consent? Informed consent is the foundation-stone of modern medical ethics. But dental trade groups routinely trample this fundamental right of every patient. Individuals are given no choice about fluoridation in the public water supply. 76% of dental consumers aren’t even informed that their “silver fillings” are mercury – much less offered the choice of mercury-free fillings. It’s time for dentistry to recognize the basic human right of every dental patient to make his or her own decisions about treatment.

I could go on and on, but you get the point. So how did dentistry come to be so mired down in outdated – and downright illogical – claims? Just follow the money….

Dental trade groups like the American Dental Association and the World Dental Federation are not unbiased scientific organizations or patient advocacy coalitions or dental charities. Instead, their real interests are revealed by their funding. For example, they receive financial support from corporations like Wrigley (a branch of Mars). Would you go to a candy-maker to help you prevent dental caries…or to promote caries in order to drum up profits for the dental fillings business? In the same vein, they also get funding from amalgam sellers like Henry Schein Inc. and Dentsply International. So long as these amalgam profiteers are their “corporate partners”, I’m sure dental trade groups will keep saying mercury is safe…no matter what the science says (nor how ridiculous they sound – just check out this short interview with British Dental Association chief executive Peter Ward at 
What do dental trade groups do with all this money? As you might expect, they look out for the interests of the corporations who pay them. During the 2012 election cycle, the American Dental Association gave $1,343,649 in political contributions. That’s almost twice as much as the American Medical Association (see ).But dental trade groups go far beyond forking over campaign dollars…they are even chummier with some government officials. For example, the World Dental Federation actually sponsors the Canadian government’s chief dental officer, Peter Cooney, at the world mercury treaty talks. At the treaty talks, he claims to wear “two hats”, speaking for both Health Canada and his pro-mercury trade group – a bold-face conflict of interest that has Canadian taxpayers rightfully outraged.

We’ve got our work cut for us. But thanks to leaders like Dr. Paul Connett, I’m confident that patients’ rights will win out in the end. Patients’ right to make their own treatment decisions – about fluoride, mercury, and everything else – will be recognized as the basic human right it is. And we’ll finally move dentistry into the 21st century…even if we have to drag backward dental trade groups the whole way there.

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