When it comes to fluoride in the water, do the research first

Posted: Friday, July 06, 2007

We are writing in response to Emily Kane's letter of June 27. Unfortunately, Kane misrepresented the facts in her opposition to community water fluoridation in Juneau. As a practicing medical doctor and a dentist, we would like to set the record straight.

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Fluoridation is the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay. Multiple science-based studies have shown that water fluoridation reduces tooth decay by 20 to 40 percent beyond the benefits of toothpaste. Community water fluoridation benefits everyone, regardless of income, education or race. Simply by drinking fluoridated water, everyone in a community benefits, including those in poorer communities where children may be less likely to receive adequate dental care. Finally, community water fluoridation is incredibly cost effective. An individual can have a lifetime of fluoridated water for less than the cost of one filling.

As a medical doctor and dentist, we want to improve our patients' oral health. Community water fluoridation is a highly effective way to do just that. This is the reason we strongly support it, along with the American Dental Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In closing her letter, Kane asks Juneau's citizens to study the research. We urge people to do just that, but beware: Just because something is printed on the Internet doesn't make it accurate. Please look at the source carefully and ask your own physician or dentist for more information. Informed and thinking citizens will draw the same conclusion that countless medical doctors, dentists and epidemiologists have: More than 60 years of research and experience have shown that community water fluoridation at optimal levels dramatically reduces tooth decay and improves oral health without harming people or the environment.

Kristen Schultz and Amy Dressel



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