I was asked if I would write a letter to the Fircrest City Council for their upcoming review of city water fluoridation, in support of the position to have it stopped. Below is that letter, and I bring it to this website for consideration by any reader interested in a personal professional perspective. I no longer recommend fluoride in any form. GGZ
Edit: Ironically, soon after this letter was written my family and I became residents of Fircrest. GGZ
Gregory Zimmer DDS
6716 Eastside Drive NE
Tacoma, WA 98422
24 April 2014
Fircrest City Council
I respectfully submit this letter not as a resident of Fircrest but as a concerned local health professional. I live in University Place and I have practiced general dentistry in the community of Browns Point since 1988. I graduated from the University of Washington School of Dentistry in 1979.The role of fluoride in my professional career has evolved, and I would just share with you the nature of that change as you review your own policy.
Our professional dental training tells us dentists what to think and say about fluoride. For many years I had accepted the tenets of that education, dispensing prescriptions for fluoride drops and tablets, giving office fluoride treatments, and recommending fluoride toothpastes. I supported water fluoridation.
What made me begin to question the practice of water fluoridation was in the mid 1990’s when I began observing widespread enamel fluorosis in the permanent teeth of my young patients. It became alarming to me, as their dentist who had for years written those prescriptions prior to the fluoridation of Tacoma water. At first I was at a loss to explain to these patients and especially their concerned parents why their teeth had white patches or soft yellow-brown areas, but as I investigated I found that even those families that avoided drinking the fluoridated water were seeing enamel fluorosis in their children because of the substantial amount of fluoride they were getting from other sources including foods and beverages prepared with fluoridated water. Even bottled water is a common, although unrecognized, fluoride source.
This was just the beginning of my research into the fluoride topic, and the more I learned the more concerned I became about its other detrimental health effects, including those caused by its accumulation in bone and brain tissues. But one important fact I learned was that fluoride does not act to strengthen developing teeth in children, as was previously thought. And some of the most recent research shows that fluoride actually affects developing teeth in a way that contributes to tooth sensitivity in adults. Any arguable beneficial effect of fluoride occurs on the smooth external tooth surfaces, a fact that has been understood and accepted for some time, and is even acknowledged by the American Dental Association.
What is missing here, what is wrong with fluoridation from this single perspective is that fluoride ingested by drinking water spends precious little time on tooth surfaces, but is primarily absorbed through our digestive system and distributed to organs and tissues, where it accumulates and interferes toxically with normal functions.
Predominant mainstream thought in America regarding fluoride use is rooted in old science and perpetuated by old school beliefs. It has become an entrenched belief in a benefit that is not what it was once thought and indeed is causing far more health problems than previously imagined. This is what mainstream dentists fail to see and acknowledge, because they look no further than the teeth and they do not question the infallibility of their training. But what is definitely occurring today is a gradual but sustained change in public awareness due to the free access to new information. More and more people are taking responsibility for their own health decisions, and are seeking change. The list of communities, cities, and even countries that have ceased or disallowed fluoridation continues to grow. 97% of Europe in not fluoridated, intentionally, while numerous American cities that are fluoridated have tooth decay rates that are alarming.
Over the first 30 years of my professional life I was a mainstream ADA dentist, with fluoride integrated into many of the products and practices I used. Once I began to see cracks in the foundation of what I thought I knew, and after much research, I found both my understanding of fluoride and my daily practice of dentistry profoundly changed. I no longer support the fluoridation of public water systems, and it is my hope that your city will join the list of those that have removed this ineffective and damaging substance from their water supply.
For better health,
Gregory Zimmer DDS
P.S. One suggestion I make to my patients who are seeking information about fluoridation is an educational video prepared by the Fluoride Action Network entitled “10 Facts about Fluoride”. It presents an excellent summary of what is now known, and, in my opinion, should be required viewing for every health professional and individual involved in public health decisions.