Despite an initial move to stop fluoridating city water, a proposed ordinance now includes the practice after a local groundswell in support for adding fluoride.
What a difference a month makes. In April, Ocala’s water managers were ready to present an ordinance to the Ocala City Council that would end 63 years of fluoridating city water.
But a groundswell of local medical and dental professionals against the idea, which they argued would lead to an increase in tooth decay, made city staff backpedal on the idea. On Tuesday, the City Council heard the first reading of the new ordinance that would keep fluoridation going. A second and final reading is set for June 4, at which time the council will vote on the measure.
Instead of ending fluoridation, the recently revised ordinance would tie the level of fluoridation to what the state requires and the Florida Department of Health recommends.
The current city ordinance, which dates to the 1950s, sets the level of fluoridation at 1 milligram per liter of water. The DOH recommends 0.7 milligrams per liter. While the city was following the DOH recommendations all along, they were technically breaking their own law.
Despite the restoration of fluoridation language to the ordinance, Dr. Johnny Johnson, president of the American Fluoridation Society, was on hand to lend support to the measure.
While the council did not discuss the ordinance on Tuesday, Council Chairwoman Mary Sue Rich wanted to allay Johnson’s worries that the council would vote against the ordinance.
“We have already decided we are not taking fluoridation out of the water,” Rich said, despite the lack of public discussion.
None of the council members voiced opposition to her statement.
Johnson, who noted he planned to address the council again on June 4, seemed pleased.
“God bless you. Your dentists are behind this. We want less business. This is a disease process and we want to get rid of it,” said Johnson who is a pediatric dentist.
Fluoridation of community drinking water in the United States began in the 1940s as a way to reduce tooth decay. Today, the majority of public water supplies get fluoridated to 0.7 milligrams per liter, the optimal amount considered effective for preventing tooth decay.
Public health experts consider community water fluoridation one of the greatest public health successes of the 20th century. Fluoride is naturally present in water, many foods and even in bottled drinks. The intake of fluoride has risen over the years, thanks to the use of fluoride-containing toothpaste and mouthwash in addition to fluoridated water.
*Original article online at https://www.ocala.com/news/20190521/city-council-chairwoman-indicates-fluoride-will-stay