My response is that every day that health agencies and professional bodies promote and defend fluoridation, they are losing their credibility. Any audience that I get to speak to is going to walk away from here wondering what on Earth is happening to the Ministry of Health in New Zealand or what is happening on these District Health Boards.
It’s going to get worse and worse until they admit they were wrong, bite that bullet, put it behind them and then begin to regain the public’s trust. This is, I think, the only way forward for them, and I think we have to hasten that a lot.
So, better alternatives. If you want fluoride, if you want fluoride, use fluoridated toothpaste; 96% of toothpaste sold in New Zealand is fluoridated. Better still use xylitol toothpaste. Xylitol is a natural sugar that we make in our bodies every day, about 15 grams of it. It’s extracted from pine bark. It’s been used in Scandinavia for over 30 years, and also in Japan. It’s endorsed by a number of national dental associations.
Another thing that we can do is to give free toothbrushes and free toothpaste to low-income families. This is what they’re doing in Scotland with good results. Give xylitol mints to kids in school, not chewing gum. One of the problems with xylitol chewing gum is that dogs that eat that chewing gum can be killed. Some dog breeds are very sensitive to xylitol. So, it’s better to give the kids mint and suck them in class. That’s what they’ve been doing in low-income schools in Wichita, Kansas, with some good results.
Most of tooth decay is concentrated in low-income families. This cries out for targeted attention, better education, more clinics, certainly better education.
The most distressing tooth decay is baby bottle tooth decay. This is when babies suck on bottles of Coca cola, milk, fruit juice for hours on end, go to sleep with it in their mouths, and it rots the top teeth down to the gums. It is totally intellectually dishonest for dentists to hold up these pictures of baby bottle tooth decay, and use these to say the communities should be fluoridated because fluoridation does not fight baby bottle tooth decay. We need better education, not fluoridation.
Now, low-income families need better diet and better dental education. Less sugar, more brushing. Less sugar, more brushing. One year before the US government endorsed fluoridation in 1950, mysteriously, the Sugar Lobby, the sugar research foundation, which represented 133 sugar interests from cookies to candies to corn flakes, said, “We need to find a way to reduce tooth decay without reducing consumption.”
Then, they proceeded to put millions of dollars on nutrition departments in prestigious universities in the United States including Harvard, and professors like Fred Stare, Chairman to the Nutrition Department in Harvard went around the country and testified to Congress that sugar was nutritious, that Coca cola was a nutritious drink, and fluoridation was the best thing since sliced bread. He kept up his mantra for years and year and years.
Sugar, not only causes tooth decay, but it also causes obesity. So, if we’re talking about fighting tooth decay and fighting sugar, then the amount of money that’s available, if you combine it with fighting obesity, is very large.
Obesity, talking about money is being spent is money, money, money, money being spent, the amount of money that’s going to be spent on the complications of obesity in the health systems of modern countries is going to absolutely cripple us. So, why not take this opportunity to get some soft drinks out of schools, educate the kids on better nutrition, make nutrition a course subject in schools, and combine it with tooth brushing, combine it with xylitol, combine it with more exercise. This should be a top priority.
A very sad truth is the Maori who are being singled out as one of the reasons that why we have to fluoridate in New Zealand had perfect teeth before Western diet. There’s a whole book that’s been written about the Western price on these indigenous peoples from Eskimos to Maoris to Aborigines to Pacific Island people had perfect teeth until they got Western diets, the way that we throw out the refined flour. Now, we’re adding insult to injury. We’ve ruined their teeth, and now we’re going to give them poison.
It’s precisely the Maori community that doesn’t need fluoride because they have a high prevalence of kidney disease. They can’t get rid of that fluoride. They have higher rates of diabetes. They don’t need fluoride because people with diabetes drink more water. So, we need the education. I’ll be talking in [1:23:17] on Monday, in Hamilton, and one of the things I’m going to suggest to them, “What were those diets that you had that so impressed Western diet? What were you eating before Western diet? Why not see if you could go back to some of those diets?
So, how could we end fluoridation in Auckland? Ending fluoridation is as easy as turning off a tap. I’ve mentioned this, but we need the political will. We need many, many people educated, organized, affecting changes like driving a nail through a piece of wood. The expert may sharpen the nail, and I hope I’ve sharpened some nails tonight, but I can’t push the nail through the piece of wood. We need the hammer of public opinion to drive that nail home.
Now, what you should all be thinking about is how can you take the ammunition that I’ve shared with you tonight and use that to affect change? How can you use that to influence your local dentist, your local doctor, and your local decision makers. We’ve got a lot of resources for you to use. FAN New Zealand has an excellent website, and we need to network. We can’t do this alone.
Right now, there are people all over the country that are drawing tremendous energy from the fact that we’re making progress in Queensland (and I’ll talk about that in a moment). Every time a community stops fluoridation anywhere in the world, everyone in our network celebrates. Same with New Zealand. Our website is one of the best, FluorideAlert.org. Don’t forget that health database that my son Michael made.
This book is available online, the National Research Council report. You can search it by word. It’s easy to use, but it’s very dense. To do justice to that, you’d have to spend several months on that. That will be good for doctors and scientists, perhaps. Our book was an attempt to make this information more readily accessible to the public but without insulting your intelligence. Every fact is documented. That will take you a few days to a few weeks to master that material, but you will have it.
Something that will only take you 29 minutes is there’s a videotape on our webpage called “Professional Perspectives on Fluoridation”. There, you’ll hear form 15 scientists, one Nobel Prize winner, three from the National Research Council that wrote that report, two former employees of the US EPA, a couple of dentists that were one pro-fluoridation, now anti-fluoridation, and a few scientists and environmentalists like myself.
In 29 minutes, they do a pretty good job. You have our permission to make as many copies of this as you want, and I think, if you can get around to it, trying to influence your neighbors. The simplest thing you can do is to give them a videotape. Don’t get into an argument. Ask them to watch it. Then, talk about it later. Do that with your dentist, too. Don’t get into an argument and say, “You’re a dentist. You’re a doctor. You’re a professional, I’m not. I’ve watched this videotape, and I’m disturbed by the arguments in here. I’d like you to watch it, and then, give me your response. Should I be worried or not?” So, treat them with the greatest respect, but try to encourage them to look at this with an open mind.
We have to end fluoridation one open mind and one community at a time. I’m not anticipating, any day soon, help from federal governments, the big central agencies, but I think with people like yourselves, with more and more open minds, we can win this.
Since October 25, when fluoridation met its waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, where they voted out fluoridation, a referendum, we’ve had over 100 communities stop fluoridation in Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. That’s about 3 million people liberated worldwide, and there’s a listing on our webpage. We keep it up to date.
On February 4, Windsor, Ontario voted to stop. That was about 300,000 people. February 5, Cairns in Queensland voted to stop. February 12, St. Croix Falls in Wisconsin voted to stop. On February 12, Bundaberg in Queensland voted not to start, and February 20th, Frazer Coast in Queensland voted to stop. Hopefully, you will add Auckland to this list.
One word of warning: In these communities that you’ve just seen, when these councilors vote out fluoridation, they immediately are bombarded with a horrible series of ill-informed attacks and criticisms. They’re attacked in editorials. They’re attacked by the Minister of Health going on television and telling people that they’re talking nonsense.
I didn’t tell you the good news was that Queensland lifted that mandatory fluoridation. The new premier lifted the mandate. That’s why we’re getting these eight victories in Queensland.
I want to arm the councilors that you’re trying to reach. We have to protect them. So, tell the critics this, “When the critics go after you, Mr. or Mrs. Councilor, for stopping fluoridation, you say: There are too many unanswered questions for me to feel comfortable forcing this on citizens against their will.”
This is what many of the European countries have said: We do not feel comfortable forcing this practice on people that don’t want it. A second thing that you can say is, “I feel very uneasy that promoters who tell us that fluoridation is ‘safe and effective’ do not accept any liability if harm is caused.” They’re pressuring us to do this or not to stop it, but if anything goes wrong, who are they going to come after? Who are the lawyers going to come after when the lawsuits begin for some of these health effects? It’s not going to the American Dental Association or these other people. It’s the people that actually do it, either the Water Department personnel or the councilors who said “yes”.
The third thing which is good protection is this: “Professor Connett raised a lot of powerful arguments with us and in his book”. Powerful arguments. The book is available on Amazon.com. “If you disagree with Professor Connett’s arguments, are you prepared to debate him during his tour of New Zealand? That’s February 18th to March the 10th.” Now, after March 10th and none of these people are prepared to debate me, I predict that right now. I won’t get a debate, then you just change it, the next time I come to New Zealand. The point is that you’re trying to make clear, yes or no. It’s a one word answer. “Are you prepared to debate him if you know so much?”
Now, if promoters don’t have the courage of their convictions—sufficient to defend their opinions in open public debate—why should you—or anyone else—have the confidence in those convictions? So, it’s simple isn’t it? It’s not my practice. It’s not your practice. It’s their practice.
If it’s their practice, and they are prepared to put a poisonous substance in the drinking water without control of who gets, without controlling of dose, with lousy science to support the effectiveness and the fact that it’s safe. If they’re prepared to do all those things, then they have to be able to defend it. Defend it completely and convincingly and on a public platform against all comments, and if they can’t do that then that’s the time that we have to insist you stop.