I was disappointed to see that the Assembly plans to cease the city's water fluoridation program. I have worked as a dental hygienist in Juneau for the last 13 years and have seen the results of dental neglect in children as young as 2 years old. Tooth decay in its advanced stages causes a myriad of overall health problems. Severely decayed teeth die and abscess quickly in young children, placing an overall burden on their immune systems. Typically it is not upper and middle class children with gross decay and abscessing teeth, it's the poor children who receive little or no dental care and poor nutrition. Fluoride ingested and metabolized while these kids are pre-natal through age 8 gives their teeth an indisputable advantage over dental decay for a lifetime.
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Fluoride occurs naturally in areas with sea floor geologic deposits, thus creating huge populations of people in the Midwest and elsewhere with very little decay. Do these folks have any greater incidence of mental illness that anti-fluoride propagandists like to suggest comes hand in hand with fluoride consumption? Doubtful, well, maybe in Crawford, Texas.
Too much of anything is not healthy, including fluoride, which is poisonous to our bodies. I wouldn't for a moment dispute that. How many of us routinely use products artificially laced with the basic elements that humans need not just to thrive, but survive? Salt, milk and flour are fortified with elements necessary for human survival, all in the interest of public health. Nearly every ingredient in our multi-vitamins is toxic to our bodies at some concentration.
If you are parenting a child in utero through grade school, ask your pediatrician or dentist about supplementing their fluoride, as this has now become a personal choice and responsibility among families. As for the growing numbers of Juneau's poor and neglected children, who will no longer receive the benefits of a fluoridated water system, I guess it's another strike against them in an already long list.
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