In the next few weeks the legislature of the City of Phoenix will decide whether or not to continue fluoridation of the public water supply. The topic is being discussed everywhere, people have very strong opinions, and it is a conversation being repeated in state after state. My e-mail has been inundated with information on supporting continued fluoridation, asking me to speak to patients and take a stand. There are pieces of this conversation I am clear about.
- Water Fluoridation decreases dental disease
- The caries rate will increase without water fluoridation, and increased caries early in life leads to a lifetime of dental treatment.
- Fluoride is not evil and does not have the horrible medical implications those opposed claim.
Given this, you would think my position is clear, and I completely disagree with the folks asking for fluoridation to be removed, right? In my mind it isn’t that simple because I do believe that people have the right to make choices about their health, well-being and healthcare. When does the majority get to say, versus individual choice? Seems to be a common conversation these days as well!
So what are the implications if public water fluoridation is discontinued. I believe it will be that much more important for patients to understand the choice of fluoride and alternative methods to have it available. I see a market for fluoridated bottled water that can be used for drinking and cooking. How about home fluoridation systems that add it to your household water supply? It has been many years since I have prescribed fluoride drops or vitamins with fluoride, but I think that will come back as well. Most of our patients are already using fluoridated toothpaste, but I can see many more deciding to do fluoride varnish as an adjunct during hygiene appointments.
If you are wondering, what I want for myself and my family, it is for water fluoridation to continue. I am also clear we have a lot of “fluoride resources” to offer our patients if we need them.