The House has voted 46-19 in favor of a resolution recognizing the value of community water fluoridation in oral health. Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, spoke against the resolution, citing Wikipedia references to “contrary studies.” Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, a retired pediatrician, told the House, “In spite of what those uncontrolled studies that were reported previously to this body may have said, fluoride works. Too much makes brown teeth, too little makes bad teeth.”
Rep. Janet Trujillo, R-Idaho Falls, said, “I can tell you as one that worked in the dental profession for several years that I’m in favor of this resolution. And as an adult when I go in for my cleanings I ask for a flouride treatment.” Rep. Pete Nielsen, R-Mountain Home, said he has a well and doesn’t add fluoride, and his kids’ teeth haven’t suffered.
Those voting no were Reps. Barbieri, Batt, Boyle, Crane, Dayley, DeMordaunt, Dixon, Gestrin, Harris, Jordan, Loertscher, Luker, McMillan, Monks, Moyle, Nielsen, Palmer, Shepherd and Sims.
Water fluoridation began more than seven decades ago; early opponents decried it as a Communist plot, but it’s now widely credited with reducing the widespread use of dentures among Americans and lowering dental costs. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that fluoridated water has reduced tooth decay by about 25 percent in children and adults; the CDC also reports that nearly all drinking water naturally contains some fluoride. Fluoridation adds additional amounts to bring it to optimal levels for prevention of tooth decay.
The CDC has named community water fluoridation one of the 10 “great public health achievements of the 20th century.” The resolution, HCR 34, says, “The Idaho Legislature recognizes community water fluoridation as a vitally important public health initiative.”