Friday, April 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Cost-effectiveness is what’s key

On Wednesday morning, I read with great amusement Bob Dunning’s column, which was mainly focused on the topic of fluoridation. This is not unusual, I often read Dunning’s column for amusement. And sometimes to pick up some homespun wisdom. But I do not read Dunning’s column for scientific advice.

There is a reason for that.

And it is demonstrated by Dunning’s strong support for Lucas Frerichs’ faulty thinking about the unit of analysis in this debate on community water fluoridation. Somehow Frerichs got confused about the unit of analysis in this debate when he focused heavily on the efficiency of the distribution of fluoride via the water system. This apparently was pivotal in his decision to not fluoridate.

Unfortunately, this point is almost entirely irrelevant because the unit of analysis is “the most effective way to secure significant improvement in oral health status of Davis residents” and not “how efficiently would fluoride be distributed in our water system.”

Introduction of the halogen fluoride (real close to that other halogen, chlorine, which we routinely put in our water) is very inexpensive (less than the cost of fluoridated toothpaste for a family of four for a year) and very effective in the reduction of caries in people of all ages.

In fact, the public health community has demonstrated over and over again, that community water fluoridation is the most effective method of improving oral health status … which is the goal of community water fluoridation.

This is called cost-effectiveness analysis, and we probably should learn to do this properly if we are to make intelligent decisions about fluoridation and other topics in the city of Davis.

John Troidl
Davis

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Discussion | 6 comments

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  • JoeOctober 11, 2013 - 6:42 am

    Hello John, nice try on the deflection that fluoridated toothpaste would cost more for a family of four than fluoridated water. People have to brush anyway and will buy toothpaste whether our water is fluoridated or not. Fluoridated toothpaste doesn't cost any more than toothpaste without. So that is a cost that a family will have either way, fluoridated water or not.

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  • jcOctober 11, 2013 - 8:13 am

    John Troidl: How many Davis residents are there that don’t already brush with fluoridated toothpaste and that do regularly drink the tap water? How few of these people would there have to be before you would say spending several hundred thousand dollars a year dumping fluoride into the water isn’t worth it?

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  • jcOctober 11, 2013 - 8:14 am

    John Troidl: What effect does fluoride have on aquatic organisms?

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  • jcOctober 11, 2013 - 8:17 am

    You also ignore the fact that, unlike the fluoride cheerleaders, many people oppose using our public water supply as a delivery medium for any unnecessary substances, whether they are deemed “good for us” by some or not. This includes fluoride, vitamins, statins, antidepressants, and any future miracle drugs or supplements that we are told have very few side effects. We want pure as it can be drinking water and nothing more than is required for it to be safe to drink (e.g., chlorine). Please plug that into your “cost-effective analysis.”

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  • Alan MillerOctober 11, 2013 - 1:30 pm

    There's a lot of fluoride in the kool-aid John Troidl peddles regularly.

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  • Grant AcostaOctober 11, 2013 - 5:36 pm

    John, you conveniently omitted the other point Lucas Frerichs made in his argument against water fluoridation. He described his own experience growing up in two different communities - one that did not fluoridate, and one that did. He pointed out that despite adhering to basically the same diet and dental hygiene practice, he got most of his cavities in the fluoridated community. Alan Pryor also provided eye-catching data that revealed communities that have fluoridated water can have much higher rates of dental disease than communities that don't (SF something like 36% and Davis at 16%). Councilwoman Swanson also alluded to this data. If the science is behind fluoridation, why was no explanation given for this inconsistency in the data???

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