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writing for godot

US Dental Fluorosis Epidemic: A Civil Right Issue?

Written by George C. Glasser   
Sunday, 19 June 2011 16:22

Before I knew what Dental Fluorosis was, I knew several people who suffered with the condition. One was a child about six years old, I watched after him in the afternoons when he came home from school until his mother came home from work.

He had what is classified as moderate fluorosis. As usual, with many children that age, especially boys, they have a propensity to avoid any sort of personal hygiene.

I would always tell him the rust colored stains on his teeth were from being to lazy to brush, handed him a toothbrush slathered with fluoride toothpaste, and make sure he brushed his teeth.

My second exposure to someone with moderate fluorosis was when I was in the military service – white blotchy patches on this teeth and light brownish stains. The poor fellow acquired the nickname of “Garbage Mouth.”

‘Garbage Mouth’ was my roommate for a while. I remember the perception everyone had about him strictly from the appearance of his teeth. My peers would often say, “I’ll bet your room stinks. Does ‘Garbage Mouth’ ever take a shower?”

However, my roommate made sure everything was squared away. He would even make my bunk, straighten my locker, and when we had an inspection, he made sure that I had a clean, ironed uniform and polished shoes.

But unfortunately, it was as if the perception became a reality to those around me when in fact, ‘Garbage Mouth’ was a very fastidious individual and quite intelligent. However, he was labeled as ‘stupid’ and ‘dirty.’

His peers often openly and on occasion mercilessly ridiculed him about his teeth.

One evening when a group of us were going out on the town, and ‘Garbage Mouth’ wanted to tag along. He was told in no uncertain terms that none of us stood a chance of picking up a girl if he was along.

It wasn’t long after that he finally cracked. I came back from a flight and found him curled in a fatal position on the floor. At first, I thought he was just sick, but he ended up in the psychiatric ward in a semi-catatonic state. But even then, my peers still ridiculed him for the appearance of his teeth.

However, if he had been a more aggressive personality type, the situation could have very easily have turned out differently, it could have ended up with most of his tormentors laying dead or dying on the floor of the barracks day room.

So in writing this article, I do so with first hand experience and being guilty of prejudging people based on the appearance of their teeth who had no control their appearance. In fact, it was a condition imposed upon them under the auspice of ‘a beneficial public health measure.’ They were the sacrificial lambs for the good of the all.

While the “CDC [US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] has recognized water fluoridation as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century,” the 'public health achievement' is also responsible for, on average in the United States, 41% of young people from 12–15 years having dental fluorosis. Kids in that age range with moderate to severe fluorosis are about 3.6%.

Looking at percentages alone is a public relations slight of hand, but crunching an actual estimate in real numbers is another story: in the US, approximately 21,403,768 between the ages of 12-15 years have dental fluorosis, and of that, approximately 770,535 have moderate to sever fluorosis or “Garbage Mouths” to be ridiculed, and shunned by their peers.”

Well, with the others, their social exclusion will all depend on their personal perception and degree of discoloration to the teeth as to the degree and severity of discrimination they will experience from a very young age.

Interestingly, we have fifty-six years of fluoridation with a constant year on year rise in the incidence of the condition that coincides with the expansion of community water fluoridation. Due to this remarkably successful 'public health achievement,' the total number of victims of this debacle is astronomical and probably as much as one-third of the population.

The problem is so out of control that recently the CDC recommended lowering the fluoride levels in drinking water to reduce the incidence of dental fluorosis.

However, most all those young people victimized by the CDC ‘for the good of the all’ will suffer some degree of prejudicial treatment just because of a preventable condition they suffer from that was simply imposed upon them by government bureaucrats.

The American Dental Association (the primary supporter and promoter of artificial water fluoridation) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that increased incidence of Dental Fluorosis in areas where the drinking water is fluoridated, is a “Classic public trade off. The benefits outweigh the risks.”

However when there is disfigurement occurring on this massive of a scale, and not only physical disfigurement but the psychological trauma attached, there has to be a knock-on impact to society as well.

If a person can’t afford cosmetic remedies, they’re stuck with the condition and the stigma attached for their lifetime. But even if a person can afford the necessary remedies, there are psychological scars that never go away in their lifetime.

These psychological scars affect the way people interface with the social structure of a community in many different ways, and often have a negative impact.

Most likely, tens of millions of people in the United Stated suffer some form of discrimination or emotional suffering from the end result a public health measure that from the inception foresaw that at least 10% - 12% of the population’s teeth would be disfigured to some extent.

For of the millions of people affected, it means a life long pattern of discrimination, job opportunities lost, relationships, exclusion, depression, ridicule, and often, relegated to the underclass of society with no chance of escape.

However, for the people promoting drinking water fluoridation, it means good paying jobs, benefits, prestige, and life long security.

In fact, if a reasonably intelligent attorney did a little investigating, he or she might just see that fluoridation of the public water supplies is a violation of The Civil Rights Act of 1991, because it creates subsets of the population vulnerable to discrimination.

Fifteenth Century alchemist, Paracelsus, credited with the practice of modern medicine said, "All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; only the dose permits something not to be poisonous."

In essence, the practice of using a highly toxic substance like fluoride to inhibit decay is based on a fifteenth century concept, and as Paracelsus’ critics responded to his statement, “Is the dose the poison, or the poison the dose?”


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