Fluoridation as social justice

By From page A10 | September 18, 2013

Reading Barbara King’s “Special to the Enterprise” gave me an idea for a new line of business for me: As the son of an engineer, I could be called upon by Gov. Brown to provide evidence regarding the safety and efficiency of the new Bay Bridge.

Well, of course that is silly and so is relying on the supposed stance of 81-year-old Andrew Young, “son of a dentist,” to provide advice on the health and social justice benefits of fluoridation. (Young is indeed the son of a dentist, who graduated from dental school in 1921.)

On April 22 of this year, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, a noted African-American clinician, endorsed community water fluoridation at the National Oral Health Conference in Huntsville, Ala. She cited the prior endorsement of previous Surgeon General, Director of CDC and prominent African-American clinical leader David Satcher, M.D./Ph.D. in continuing the support of a succession of surgeons general over the past 50 years.

She said: “As then-Surgeon General David Satcher noted in Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General (May 2000), community water fluoridation continues to be the┬ámost cost-effective and practical way to provide protection from tooth decay in a community. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recognized fluoridation as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.”

Obviously, the poor and underserved in our community do not have the same kind of access to restorative dental care as the rest of the better resourced community. And even if they did, we would still want to fluoridate because it is a cost-effective, clinically effective preventive┬ámeasure to improve oral health. Although my dentist is a nice guy, I don’t like to sit in the dental chair any more than I have to. And there is no reason to assume others do, either.

So, let’s get past the silly and do the only intelligent and just thing: Use a preventive/public health approach and fluoridate Davis’ water! It’s good for all of us!

John J. Troidl

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