Thursday afternoon the City of Buffalo had their final public hearing on the possibility of adding fluoride to the city’s drinking water, and again, the overwhelming sentiment of those attending was for the city not to do it.
The few that spoke at the hearing were opposed to adding the fluoride to the city’s water, but had no issue with finding alternatives to help the county’s population improve their dental health, including using public funds to educate, purchase materials and promote better prevention methods.
Ideas ranged from helping to pay for fluoride varnishes and fluoride pills to educating parents on instructing their kids in better prevention methods to improving county resident’s diets to lessen the intake of sugary foods and refined carbs, which are shown to contribute to tooth decay.
Dr. Mark Schueler, County Health Officer for Johnson County, has been behind this latest push to fluoridate the city’s water, saying he wants to see improvement in the oral health of the county’s children, which would be the main beneficiaries of fluoride in the water.
Dr. Schueler has said as the county’s health officer he feels it is his duty to try for fluoridation.
Dr. John Naugle, a dentist from Sheridan, spoke against fluoride in the water, saying “fluoride doesn’t work. However, there must be some middle ground.”
He explained that fluoride is only useful when taken internally by children from 3 and 12 years of age.
Dr. Naugle said he wasn’t there to tell the council what to do, but did say in his 36 years, he has not seen any positive benefit from fluoride in the water. He said when fluoridation began, no one was supposed to have tooth decay. Now, according to him, it’s worse than its ever been.
The next step in the process, according to Mayor Mike Johnson, is for the city council to add this to their meeting agenda for June 21st, where they will make the decision on whether or not they will fluoridate the city’s water.