Real issue is proper distribution of fluoride

Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2007

This letter is in response to a My Turn by Susan Hennon regarding fluoridation in the water system ("Fluoridation makes a big difference," Friday's Juneau Empire). That article is a perfect example of the misguided logic being used to bolster the idea that fluoride in public water is a good thing.

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Right off the bat, the article compares Juneau to nonfluoridated communities. That comparison creates more problems than it solves. The issue here isn't whether Juneau has better dental health than Skagway or Hoonah or anywhere else for that matter. Comparing Juneau to another city or town to justify water fluoridation is pointless, unless the two towns are identical in size, affluence, access to medical care, education, genetic diversity, etc.

So, why not address the real problem: fluoride distribution? We should be providing fluoride, free of charge, to those parents who want it for their children or for themselves.

Putting fluoride in the water is not only a scattershot solution to a very specific problem, but it is also an insult to many of our fellow citizens. Face it, the tone of Hennon's article suggests she is occupying some imagined higher ground from which she seems to think she knows better than the rest of us about what our children should be ingesting.

Do whatever you feel is best for your kids, but just remember to respect everyone else's right to make those same choices.

Let's face it, folks. We all make mistakes. No one is a perfect parent. But should we be allowed to force our will on those with whom we disagree? The answer, of course, is a resounding "No!" So why then would we stand idly by while others presume to dictate to us how we should handle our children's dental hygiene?

There are many local dentistry professionals who side with Hennon, and all for the same reason: They think they know best. Whether they do or not, however, is irrelevant. Like I said, the real issue is not the "effectiveness" of fluoride (that argument will probably never end), but rather the proper method of distribution. The solution is simple: Make the fluoride available to anyone who wants it. Likewise, let those who don't want it have the same freedom to make that choice. It's a no-brainer here, folks.

Patrick McGonegal


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