The Oct. 2 election was a lost opportunity for the people of Juneau. The gap between the haves and the have-nots in this country is getting larger all the time. The rich are becoming richer and the poor are struggling and becoming more numerous. The underprivileged people of Juneau would have definitely benefited by having fluoride in the water because they have limited access to dental care, and fluoride may have made their teeth more resistant to cavities. The election has now effectively added the burden of bad teeth to the burden of poverty.
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Was there some risk to fluoride? Sure. There is a downside to every medicine or chemical. Don't forget that chlorine also can be used as a poison gas, yet we never question it being added to our water supply (and we shouldn't). But who ever decided at what level that is totally safe? Next time you see a young child with rotten teeth, just think how much harder it will be for him or her to be successful in society because of the poor first impression that smile will make. My hope is that at least the controversy will motivate the community to make fluoride treatments and supplements available to those who cannot afford regular dental care.
Kim C. Smith, MD
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