Fluoride – friend or foe: a lecture

A quick announcement for Waikato readers.

The Hamilton fluoride referendum deadline is next weekend. If you are still trying to decide how to vote, or just want to get more information on fluoride, this would be a great lecture for you.

It is next Tuesday evening, at Waikato University. One of the Current Issues lecture series organised by the Waikato Branch of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Everyone is welcome.  Here are the details:

Fluoride – friend or foe

Dr Graham Saunders, Senior Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry, Waikato University.

Room L.G.01, Gate 1, Waikato University

Tuesday October 8, 2013, at 7.30 pm.

Fluoride is the small ion that is grabbing attention at the moment. For the synthetic chemist it is plagued by contradiction: Aggressive when naked, but docile when wet. It is responsible for fluorosis, but also endows teeth with resistance to decay.

The talk will present:

  •  The chemistry of fluoride
  • The reasons for its harmful and beneficial properties
  • How fluoride is introduced to water
  • The misconceptions and misinformation.

Graham Saunders is a graduate of Oxford University. He has a research background in fluorine chemistry spanning over two decades. His past work has included using highly reactive fluoride compounds, fluorine gas, and making additives for water treatment. His current research interests include breaking extremely strong carbon―fluorine bonds and using the unique properties of the fluorine atom for highly water repellent surfaces.

Room L.G.01 is in L block. Entry is easiest through either Gate 1 on Knighton Rd or Gate 8 on Hillcrest Rd. A campus map is available at http://www.waikato.ac.nz/contacts/map.pdf. There is no charge for this event.

See also:

Similar articles on fluoridation
Making sense of fluoride Facebook page
Fluoridate our water Facebook page
New Zealanders for fluoridation Facebook page

26 responses to “Fluoride – friend or foe: a lecture

  1. Ken, please post a transcript to Planet Atheism.


  2. Congratulations to city of Hamilton citizens who have just overwhelmingly voted to reinstate fluoridation in their city water supply.
    A victory for dental disease prevention.


  3. Why to put it into city water supply? You can use fluorid – if you want – in your toothpaste.


  4. Why add chlorine to the city water supply? You can use chlorine-if you want-in you own water.


  5. You can add chlorine to your own water supply, if it is needed.
    Before the earthquake, Christchurch NZ water was chlorinated.
    There are water quality regulations that require less than a certain amount of contamination of the water that can be achieved by chlorine or filtration.

    Are there any regulatory requirements for fluoride?


  6. Yes there are, Andy. Did you think we wouldn’t have regulations controlling such water treatments?



  7. My point is that there is a minimum standard for water quality (faecal colliforms or whatever – I’m no expert) which can be dealt with using Chlorine. So the regulatory framework drives the use of Ch.

    My point is that, although there will be regulations as to the dosage of F in water, as far as I know there is no regulatory imperative to use F in water. It is the medical issue that drives the case.

    Would this be a fair assessment?


  8. No, there is no mandatory requirement to fluoridate (although I think there probably is to remove excess if it occurs as it does in many countries.) The decision is left to local authorities at the moment (this could well change as it has been a bit of a disaster). With strong advice from government and health authorities supporting fluoridation.

    Fluoridation is really a public health measure -F is not a medicine. It’s a normal part of the environment.


  9. For those that are pro fluoride such as Richard….do you have a problem with brushing and caring for your teeth that you need it dumped in the water supply? Why stop there with Fluoride…since high cholesterol is practically an epidemic, why not throw Lipitor or some other Statin drug in the water supply? Also…in order to drop the number of suicides, lets put Lithium in the water….and since so many people suffer from all sorts of pain, from back pain to knee pain, to arthritis and whatever else….we can put some aspirin, or some other pain killer in the water…

    It’s completely ridiculous that you would vote to have your tax dollars wasted on dumping that toxin in the water in order to prevent what? Something than can also be prevented by actually cleaning your mouth on a regular basis.

    It seems apparent to me that some people have already drank enough fluoride to do some damage already.

    Well for you poor folks in Hamilton who are stuck with Fluroride in your water, I stumbled across a small company that even makes great water filter products to address pretty much everything including Fluoride.

    They have great customer service, and a fantastic product. This was the only company where I could actually verify their lab results with the lab that did the test. The have all kinds of different configurations to choose from and read the reviews on their site. All are top notch.

    If you are serious about getting clean water and have any questions, the company is great at getting back to you or speaking with you….check them out at: http://www.pureeffectfilters.com/#a_aid=Ultrawater
    Sorry for sounding like an infomercial …but better to pass on something that at least can help you get rid of the junk being dumped in our waters because of a lack of common sense.


  10. Katoto, none of your arguments are new and have all been addressed in Ken’s series of articles which can be accessed by first link (of see also) immediately below the article above. If your questions are genuine I suggest you read them.


  11. Sorry, I don’t see which article you are referring to that addresses why we should be medicating every individual for the sake that some cannot care for their teeth?

    I also do not see where it is addressed that the gap between fluoridation and non fluoridation is so great that it warrants it going into our water.

    I’m sure you don’t bother to heed the warnings of the CDC where they state caution in using Fluoridated tap water on babies for mixing formula.

    And I would actually really appreciate it if you can show me the toxicology safety studies done on hydrofluorosilicic acid.



  12. Sorry but none of those titles address my first paragraph. Would you care to do so?


  13. If you can’t/won’t use the titles to narrow your search (fairly straightforward imo), read all the articles, I’m not your nursemaid.


  14. Nice cop-out my friend. None of them address why it should be given to the masses. If you can support the reason why, then you open the door for anything else to be put into our waters that is deemed ‘safe’ to treat other health issues.

    I’m not quite sure why cavity prevention is so incredibly important that it needs to have additives added to our water. Like I referred to previously, heart disease, depression, diabetes is far more serious…lets add stuff to the water that will help those while we’re at it …lol. But I digress…I guess you pro-fluoridation folks never heard of a toothbrush.

    How can anyone have a discussion when they can’t even acknowledge the most obvious in front of their nose. Their own intelligence blinds them and they forget the simplicity of common sense.

    By the way, the differences between tooth caries between fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities are insignificant (of course insignificant is my perception)….take a read of Health Canada’s Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality.

    Anyhow, continue to consume all the fluoride water you want.


  15. Read the articles, I’m not your nursemaid.


  16. Excerpt from the Globe and Mail:

    Statscan said it couldn’t compile meaningful data for British Columbia and Alberta, which are in a similar situation. British Columbia has practically no one drinking fluoridated water, while nearly three-quarters of Albertans rely on municipal supplies where the chemical is added.

    The paper sought the information to see what light it would shed on the effectiveness of fluoridation, which has been touted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one of the top 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century, and is endorsed by all dental associations in the country and by Health Canada.

    But the results showed that if fluoridation is the only major difference between the two provinces, the chemical is preventing fewer than half a cavity per child in Ontario.

    Health Canada down played the significance of the findings.

    “While accurate,” the data on the children are “an incomplete picture of the tooth decay situation…. [and]cannot be used to form conclusions regarding the efficacy of fluoride use in water,” Health Canada said.

    The federal department said firm conclusions can’t be drawn from the Statscan survey because it didn’t collect assessments on individual intakes of the chemical. To make a proper assessment, Health Canada said it would need detailed information on whether people in the two provinces differ in their intake fluoride supplements, drink tap water or bottled water, and use fluoridated toothpaste.
    Go figure, The federal department says that conclusions cannot be drawn as they need to collect assessments on individual intakes of the chemical, but yet it is still administered to the mass population and those individual assessments are ignored……the bottom line…..Fluoridation is CARELESS and the logic is FLAWED.


  17. Have a degree in epidemiology have you?

    You still haven’t read Ken’s articles.


  18. No need for a degree in epidemiology when it comes to this 🙂
    Sounds like Ken is your nursemaid….lol


  19. Sounds like Ken is your nursemaid

    Actually, I take my cue on fluoridation from the US Surgeon General(s), the Royal Society and just about every public health and dental authority in the developed world.
    And Ken’s research is helpful too.
    You and your interpretation of newspaper articles? no thanks.


  20. LOL no wonder….may God help you…
    Here you go…here is what your great and wonderful CDC says:

    Fluoride intake from water and other fluoride sources, such as toothpaste and mouthrinses, during the ages when teeth are forming (from birth through age 8) also can result in changes in the appearance of the tooth’s surface called dental fluorosis. In the United States, the majority of dental fluorosis is mild and appears as white spots that are barely noticeable and difficult for anyone except a dental health care professional to see.
    Recent evidence suggests that mixing powdered or liquid infant formula concentrate with fluoridated water on a regular basis may increase the chance of a child developing the faint, white markings of very mild or mild enamel fluorosis.
    You can use fluoridated water for preparing infant formula. However, if your child is exclusively consuming infant formula reconstituted with fluoridated water, there may be an increased chance for mild dental fluorosis. To lessen this chance, parents can use low-fluoride bottled water some of the time to mix infant formula; these bottled waters are labeled as de-ionized, purified, demineralized, or distilled.

    Hmmm…so once again its being added to the water without even knowing individual intake….thus the CDC has to advise accordingly….hmmm let me see in the left corner we have dental fluorosis for my baby….and in the right corner I have the possibility of a cavity…… like I said Fluoridation is careless and its logic is FLAWED, just like many of Ken’s articles that I read.

    Keep up the parrot impression….time to go to bed.


  21. may God help you…

    Ah, an appeal to the invisible fairy.
    What does he say in his magic book about fluoride, if anything?


  22. Some more reading for those that really want to get a better understanding….

    “[L]aboratory and epidemiologic research suggests that fluoride prevents dental caries predominately after eruption of the tooth into the mouth, and its actions primarily are topical for both adults and children.” – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (1999). Achievements in Public Health, 1900-1999: Fluoridation of Drinking Water to Prevent Dental Caries. MMWR, 48(41): 933-940.

    “[F]luoride’s predominant effect is posteruptive and topical.” – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2001). Recommendations for Using Fluoride to Prevent and Control Dental Caries in the United States. Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Review. August 17, 50(RR14):1-42.

    “[E]vidence has continued to accumulate to support the hypothesis that the anti-caries mechanism of fluoride is mainly a topical one.” – J Carlos, JP. (1983) Comments on Fluoride. The Journal of Pedodontics. Winter. 135-136.

    “Fluoride…works via topical mechanisms.” – Featherstone, JDB. (2000). The Science and Practice of Caries Prevention. Journal of the American Dental Association. 131: 887-899.

    “Fluoride incorporated during tooth development is insufficient to play a significant role in caries protection.” – Featherstone, JDB. (2000). The Science and Practice of Caries Prevention. Journal of the American Dental Association. 131: 887-899.

    “[R]esearchers are discovering that the topical effects of fluoride are likely to mask any benefits that ingesting fluoride might have… This has obvious implications for the use of systemic fluorides to prevent dental caries.” – Limeback, H. (1999). A re-examination of the pre-eruptive and post-eruptive mechanism of the anti-caries effects of fluoride: is there any caries benefit from swallowing fluoride? Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology. 27:62-71.

    “Although it was initially thought that the main mode of action of fluoride was through its incorporation into enamel, thereby reducing the solubility of the enamel, this pre-eruptive effect is likely to be minor.” – Locker, D. (1999). Benefits and Risks of Water Fluoridation. An Update of the 1996 Federal-Provincial Sub-committee Report. Prepared for Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.

    “[F]luoride’s pre-eruptive effects in caries prevention are weak.” – Burt, BA. (1994). The Case for Eliminating the Use of Dietary Fluoride Supplements Among Young Children. Abstract of paper presented at Dietary Supplement Conference, American Dental Association, Chicago, Illinois, January 31 – February 1.


  23. Thank you Katoto,

    The topical action of fluoride in effectively reducing tooth decay when added to water supplies has been discussed here in several articles.

    Perhaps if you read the articles on this site you would gain a better understanding of your cut and paste.


  24. Katato, I have written several articles on the surface mechanism and confusion about it –  https://openparachute.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/fluoridation-topical-confusion/ and https://openparachute.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/topical-confusion-persists/.

    I am currently out of internet contact so cannot develop details with you at the moment.  However in a few days Paul Connett and I will be posting an internet debate on this blog and I am sure we will be discussing this issue


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