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UK Against Fluoridation

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

USA - Very pro fluoride editorial

Add fluoride now
By Bulletin Editorial staff
Published: December 04. 2006 5:00AM PST
When it comes to health care, Oregonians historically have been willing to try new and unproven ideas, from the Oregon Health Plan to the legalization of medical marijuana. Given such daring, you'd think it would be a snap to adopt established and proven strategies. Strangely, though, that's far from true, at least when it comes to water fluoridation.
Most of the country has been enjoying the benefits of fluoridated water for decades. In low concentrations, fluoride strengthens teeth, reducing the need for painful and expensive repair work. This benefit is especially important for children in families without the wherewithal to visit a dentist every six months. They might not get cleanings and other treatments, but they still drink water.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which strongly supports water fluoridation, almost 66 percent of Americans on public water systems drink fluoridated water. In Oregon, that percentage is a pathetic 19.4, which places us ahead of only two states. These are Hawaii, at 8.6 percent, and Utah, at 2.2 percent. So backward is Oregon that a number of cities, including Bend, have ordinances forbidding water fluoridation.

The state continues to wallow in third-world water policy despite fluoride's proven benefits because various groups, armed with flimsy science and abundant passion, insist upon it. Bills that would mandate fluoridation for large water suppliers - typically those serving more than 10,000 people - surface regularly in the Legislature, but invariably make little headway. This session will probably see a similar bill, perhaps with a better outcome.

We have faith that mandatory fluo-ridation will happen eventually because it's a good idea, and even lawmakers can't keep good ideas down indefinitely. And what better time to take fluoridation seriously than 2007, when the Legislature will face greater pressure than ever to stretch health care dollars? Fluoridation, it just so happens, saves money.

The CDC has made lots of information available to anyone who cares to look, but a pair of reports suggests just how wasteful Oregon's drinking water policies have been. The first examines Louisiana Medicaid information for young children between July 1995 and June 1996. Its findings suggest that Medicaid-eligible children in communities without fluoridated water were three times more likely than Medicaid-eligible children with fluoridated water to receive dental treatment in a hospital ... and the cost of dental treatment per eligible child was approximately twice as high The CDC also points to a study in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry that found that in larger communities - at least 20,000 people - where the per person cost of fluoridation was about 50 cents, every $1 invested yielded about $38 in avoided dental treatment. Smaller communities saved money, too.

Oregonians have demonstrated time and again their impatience with government waste, so it's nearly impossible to imagine that the economic benefits of fluoridation wouldn't impress them. That's why any lawmaker who doesn't jump at the chance to support fluoridation next year should have his commitment to public health and government efficiency questioned.

One sided argument

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