During the City Council meeting that decided the fluoridation issue, but before any decision was handed down, a young man approached me. He wanted to convince me fluoridating the city’s water was not a good option to fight tooth decay.
But when I simply asked him to propose alternatives, there was dead silence. In fact, after a long uncomfortable pause, the perplexed fellow said “Let’s not talk about that …,” then proceeded to deflect attention in a totally irrelevant direction. Clearly he had no clear vision for a solution to the problem of how to prevent tooth decay.
When four City Council members ultimately voted against fluoridating the city’s water, they also asked to explore alternatives for preventing tooth decay. However, I had the distinct impression it was the dental and medical health community they were looking to for answers. But the dental and health community already gave the City Council the most cost-effective solution for fighting tooth decay — fluoridating the city’s water.
Thus, the burden to find solutions should not be on the medical and dental health community, but on the anti-fluoride folks, who have insisted there are better ways. As the city moves forward on this issue as promised, City Council members should first and foremost reach out to the anti-fluoridation crowd. Let this group put their money where the mouth is, and raise the funding necessary to somehow come up with ways to prevent tooth decay. It seems to me I remember one of opponents of fluoridation offering $10,000 to start the process.
It will be necessary for all the anti-fluoridation folks, en masse, to work with the schools, the elderly, the dental and health community, etc., to develop some sort of program of tooth decay prevention. Statistics will need to be kept to see if whatever alternative they come up with is actually effective.
So I expect to see all the anti-fluoridation crowd that spoke at the Water Advisory Committee and City Council meetings to be a part of the “grand solution” they insist is out there, fully committed to developing an ambitious tooth decay prevention program.
Elaine Roberts Musser