No surprise over fluoride vote outcome

Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2007

This letter is in reference to Kim Smith's recent letter in the Juneau Empire.

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It's not the least bit surprising to me that even after the people of Juneau voted with their health in mind, letters continue to pour in to the newspaper. I'm almost positive that for this one that was printed, 25 more were left on the cutting room floor.

But that's not the disheartening part of this. The issue comes down to the half-speak and double-talk we find. Smith wrote, "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."

This statement highlights the issue with the pro-fluoride camp. You see, the "poor" would have "definitely benefited" by having fluoride in their water, but that fluoride "may have made their teeth more resistant to cavities." That combines to make one conflicting statement and does nothing more than to make people feel as though they just lost access to oxygen, or something just as life-sustaining.

I do agree with her in the fact that we need a community-wide push for fluoride supplements. History has proven fluoride's benefits when given as a rinse in regular intervals. With the money the city saves on dumping their smelting waste in the water, they should begin providing the schools with fluoride rinses that can be administered to all children of the community.

I would also like to point out that bad oral hygiene is not indicative of poverty as was conveyed. Not brushing and flossing your teeth is indicative of bad oral hygiene! And on that note, I would like to recommend that the city also provide each child toothpaste and a toothbrush for use at school and the school should set aside two times a day for brushing teeth. We've left the responsibility of teaching good oral hygiene to parents, but apparently some have failed in that regard. So where better to teach than at school?

Ben Madison

Formerly of Juneau


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