By Carol Kopf, Media Director, Fluoride Action Network (www.fluoridealert.org)
Multi-billion dollar international conglomerates, which benefit from tooth decay and fluoride sales, pour money into organized dentistry, which is behind virtually every fluoridation initiative.
The American Dental Association (ADA), and many of its over 250 constituent state and city associations, are benefactors along with other fluoridation-promoting dental groups and schools.
Dentists, inside and outside of government and industry, seem to have vast amounts of money and influence to pro mote fluoridation. Where does it come from?
The ADA and the ADA Foundation received over $28 million from pharmaceutical companies, dental equipment manufacturers and insurance companies, from 2006 — 2009, according to a January 20, 2010, letter from the ADA’s Chief Financial Officer to U.S. Senator Charles Grassley.
Grassley wants more accountability and transparency between the ADA and industry. The ADA didn’t comply with Grassley’s request to publish its corporate funders on its website. However, Grassley listed them on his own website.
Fluoride-selling pharmaceutical giants listed include: Colgate, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Pfizer, and others.
Several companies on Grassley’s list paid a “Seal Program Maintenance Fee,” totaling $574,000 for four years (2006-2009).
The ADA requires a one-time, non-refundable submission fee before reviewing over-the-counter products ($14,500 per product). If given the ADA’s Seal of Acceptance, they are required to pay an annual maintenance fee of $3,500 per product, according to Jan Lord, Manager, Acceptance Program, ADA’s Council on Scientific Affairs.
Approximately, 260 items appear on the ADA’s current Accepted “Shopping List.” Many are fluoride products.
More Legal-Financial Exchanges between the ADA and Industry Sometimes the ADA joins into “Cause-Related-Marketing” with for-profit companies. The ADA gives an example: the William Wrigley Company agreed to donate a percentage of its ADA Accepted chewing gum products to the ADA’s Give Kids A Smile program, according to Guidelines Governing the American Dental Association’s Corporate Relationships.
Wrigley paid the ADA $36,000 to review some of Wrigley’s sugar-free chewing gum studies to get the ADA’s Seal of Acceptance, according to CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Gupta writes, “The ADA stands by its seal and told us any company can apply for the seal, as long as the company pays for it.”
Johnson & Johnson gave $900,000 to fund the ADA’s annual session’s distinguished speaker series (2006-2009). Colgate funds the ADA research institute newly renamed after dentist Anthony R. Volpe, who recently retired as Vice President of Clinical Research and Scientific Affairs at Colgate-Palmolive Company.
Colgate’s Volpe and a Henry Schein, Inc., representative serve on the Board of Directors of Forsyth Institute, which bills itself as “the only independent research institute in America specializing in oral health and its impact on overall wellness.” The Forsyth Institute is where Dr. Phyllis Mullenix performed research that found fluoride can cause brain deficits in rodents. Mullenix was fired for publishing her results in a peer-reviewed, respected journal (1), against the orders of her Forsyth boss, as explained in the first chapter of Chris Bryson’s “The Fluoride Deception.”
Members of the dental industry are on Boards of Directors for Dental Schools, other fluoridation promoting groups such as the Children’s Dental Health Project and Oral Health America. Dental product manufacturers are even listed as Friends of the National Institutes of Dental Research, a federal agency.
Henry Schein, Inc., the largest distributor of healthcare products and services to office-based practitioners, gave the New York University Dental School a six figure gift in 2000 and a million dollars the year before.
The New York University Donor Honor Roll reveals that Colgate-Palmolive Company and Nobel Biocare USA, Inc, both gave from $1 to $4 million to the NYU Dental School in 2010-11. Large sums were also donated by Delta Dental, which makes fluoridation equipment.
If a community elects to stop fluoridation, invariably a dentist and his posse shows up intimidating legislators into restarting fluoridation. As ammunition, they state: “CDC has recognized water fluoridation as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.”
That statement may sound impressive. However, it has been promoted by the CDC’s Oral Health Division, who are paid to promote fluoridation. The CDC also says, “It is not CDC’s task to determine what levels of fluoride in water are safe.” (see 2nd paragraph, 2nd sentence: http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/safety)
The CDC’s Oral Health Division may be a stepping stone into a more lucrative career promoting fluoridation for outside interests. Dentist William Kohn, former director of the CDC’s Division of Oral Health until Feb 2011, is now with Delta Dental, a dental “insurance” company that strongly supports fluoridation financially. Kohn does a poor job of convincing anyone to endorse fluoridation in a series of Delta Dental YouTube videos.
Dentist William Maas, CDC’s previous Oral Health Director retired January 2010 from the CDC. But, In 2009, Dr. Maas was assigned by CDC to serve as an advisor to the Pew Children’s Dental Campaign. Despite the efforts of Maas and Pew, fluoridation initiatives in Portland, OR, and Wichita, KS, failed in 2013, when voters rejected fluoridation 60% to 40% despite the vast amount of money spent trying to convince them to swallow the fluoride.
Fluoridation hasn’t hurt dentistry’s bottom line at all. In fact, dentistry is big business today despite seven decades of water fluoridation and a glut of fluoridated dental products. Americans spent about $108 billion on dentists in 2011, an inflation-adjusted increase from $64 billion in 1996, according to the General Accounting Office. But a dental crisis still exists. Since fluoridation doesn’t reduce tooth decay, whose best interests are served by protecting fluoride’s image?
The global toothpaste market is expected to reach $12.6 billion by 2015, according Global Industry Analysts, Inc. The global dental equipment market is predicted to exhibit a compound annual growth rate of 9% to reach over $13 billion by 2016.
Cosmetic Dentistry Continues to Surge with an Annual U.S. Expenditure of $2.75 billion.
Fluoridation has created a lucrative new market for cosmetic dentistry. Fluoride-overdose symptoms, dental fluorosis (discolored teeth) has increased in incidence and severity over the years. WebMD writes, “Although fluorosis is not a disease, its effects can be psychologically distressing and difficult to treat. Parental vigilance can play an important role in preventing fluorosis.” The CDC acknowledges that 41% of teens 12-15 now suffer from fluorosis.
Sales of fluoride varnishes are soaring as organized dentistry lobbied legislators to increase, require, or allow their use among more practitioners — even though the varnish contains a hugely toxic 22,600 parts per million fluoride and has never been FDA approved for cavity reduction or safety tested.
Even the ADA admits good dental health begins in the womb. It’s important for pregnant women to receive sufficient amounts of tooth-building nutrients, including calcium, protein, phosphorous and vitamins A, C and D and K2. But dentists are mostly focused on fluoride, a drug with adverse side effects, which is not even essential for healthy teeth.
But there’s no money in selling nutrients and healthy eating.
So it’s not surprising that the U.S. is experiencing a tooth decay epidemic along with a fluoride-overdose epidemic.
The CDC is not responsible for fluoridation safety. The FDA regulates fluoride as a drug for topical application and considers ingested fluoride such as fluoride supplements, an unapproved drug. The EPA regulates fluoride in water supplies as a contaminant. Organized dentistry, fueled by corporate cash, protects fluoride’s image and promotes fluoridation
1. Mullenix PJ, Denbesten PK, Schunior A, Kernan WJ. 1996. Neurotoxicity of Sodium Fluoride in Rats. Neurotoxicol Teratol. 1995 Mar-Apr;17(2):169-77.