The Melbourne City Council will vote Tuesday on whether to eliminate water fluoridation for 181,000 Brevard residents.
Our water is clean and safe to drink. I urge the Melbourne City Council to listen to the recommendation of thousands of scientists and medical and public health associations and keep optimal water fluoridation.
The City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. at Melbourne City Hall, 900 E. Strawbridge Ave., Melbourne.
The Centers for Disease Control has called fluoridation one of 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. Some others from that list are seat belts, vaccinations, cancer prevention, maternal and infant health, tobacco control, prevention and control of infectious diseases, and cardiovascular disease prevention. That’s an impressive group of achievements to be included with.
I strongly support community water fluoridation for the following reasons.
- Fluoride is a natural mineral that’s already in our water at a level of 0.2-4 milligrams per liter (mg/l) of water. Optimal levels are .7 mg/l. In 1901, scientist noticed dental cavities were reduced in areas of the country with higher fluoride levels in the water. After years of study, it was introduced into most of the drinking water in the United States resulting in a significant reduction in dental decay. Since then, over 6,500 studies have found this practice to be safe and beneficial.
- Like vaccinations, road signs, speed limits and other public health and safety policies, water fluoridation is important in preventing dental disease. Dental decay is one of the most common infections in children and adults, and the leading cause of missed school days over other illnesses. On a national level, children ages 5 to 17 miss nearly 2 million school days in a single year due to dental health problems.
- Fluoride in drinking water saves communities millions of dollars in dental treatment and reduces missed school and work days, hospital visits, dental pain and related systemic diseases. Over 97% of Brevard county and 77% of Florida citizens now benefit from community water fluoridation. Removing it would have adverse effects on dental and systemic health for Melbourne and Brevard County.
As a practicing dentist and 45-year Brevard resident, I have seen fluoridation initiated for nearly all of our citizens. I was active in promoting fluoridation for Titusville, Palm Bay and Mims. I have worked as a volunteer with different advocacy groups to improve dental care for the underserved and volunteered in every statewide Florida Dental Association Mission of Mercy and Space Coast Health Foundation Dental Days. The benefits of fluoridation are easy to see in these settings and are often the first and most effective measure of preventive oral health care that many children in our state receive.Dr. Jim Antoon (Photo: Provided)
One of the best ways to determine whether health-related statements are valid is to see who agrees with them. Over 100 national and international organizations have expressed support for water fluoridation including: American Medical Association; Alzheimer’s Association; American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology; American Academy of Pediatrics; American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry; American Cancer Society; American Nurses Association; American Dental Hygiene Association; American Dental Association; American Osteopathic Association; Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs; Centers for Disease Control; the Department of Defense and the World Health Organization. No widely respected health organization opposes it.
For many people, especially children, water fluoridation is the only preventive dental care they will receive. Melbourne spends about 36 cents per citizen each year for water fluoridation. The Centers for Disease Control and decades of legitimate studies show that this saves an average of $32.19 per citizen. That results in nearly $6 million in dental care for those benefiting from Melbourne’s water.
All of these reasons are why I support water fluoridation. Please contact Melbourne City Council members today and ask them to support community water fluoridation. It is important for our residents, our children and grandchildren. If you would like more information, please visit www.floridafluoridation.org .
*Original article online at https://www.floridatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/11/25/dont-remove-fluoride-melbourne-water/4249697002/