Bulletin of Dental Education

Dentistry in the News - February 2011

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Bottled and filtered water may increase oral health risks

Americans' consumption of bottled and filtered water has doubled over the past decade. Could this affect tooth decay?

Dr. Steven M. Levy, Professor at University of Iowa, has been studying the effect of fluoride intake on infants. He was quoted in a widely syndicated Washington Post article. Participants in the study are now ages 15 to 18 and, he says, "those who had more bottled water had a slight tendency to have more decay in the baby teeth, but we had very small numbers."

Bill Introduced to Eliminate Fluoride in New York City Water

Opposition to fluoridation of U.S. public water supplies has existed since it was initiated in the mid-20th century. On January 18, 2011, New York City Council Member Peter Vallone, Jr., introduced legislation that would prohibit the addition of fluoride to the New York City water supply.

In responding to the Metro.New York website, Dr. Mark S. Wolff of New York University mentioned the January 7, 2011, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposal to reduce the recommended level of fluoride in drinking water. He said, "When the levels were originally established, there was no other real fluoride used by consumers, so those were appropriate levels. Today, with the use of toothpaste, mouth rinses-there is even fluoride in iced tea, apple juice-it is probably not inappropriate to reduce the fluoride to 0.7 parts per million. At 0.7 we can still fight decay and still help our underserved community."     

Dental Tourism Within North America

The Edmonton (Canada) Journal examined dental tourism in the January 17, 2011, article "Dental tourism promises big savings, but is it safe?," primarily involving patients from Canada and the United States seeking care in Mexico.

Dr. Gerry Uswak, Dean of the University of Saskatchewan College of Dentistry, warns that if the main motivation of patients is to get the work done as cheaply as possible, they are taking a risk with their health. Patients risk exposure to diseases if a clinic reuses needles or does not properly sterilize instruments, he says.

Dr. Paul W. Major, Chair of University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, points out it would be difficult for a patient to ascertain the level of competence or training of a dentist located in another country.

Read more from this Edmonton Journal article.

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