Fluoride Action Network

Fluoridation debate continues in central Nebraska

Source: KHAS-TV News 5 | April 4th, 2012 | By Katie Gauthier
Location: United States, Nebraska

Does fluoride in your water really make a difference? Statistically, it’s been proven to harden your teeth but many are still against the idea of having it in the public water source.

News 5’s Katie Gauthier tried to get to the bottom of the debate Wednesday.

Some local cities do have fluoride added to their water.

About 70 percent of Nebraskans have access to fluoridated water. Kearney has added fluoride to its water as well as Superior,
Grand Island naturally has about half the amount of fluoride in its water.

But here in Hastings you may remember residents voted a few years ago against adding fluoride meaning there’s none in the water. But one local dentist says she can see the difference in the mouths.

“Usually the kids have a lot of tooth decay, black holes in their teeth, often times they have tooth aches,” said Dr. Jessica Meeske.

Pediatric Dental Specialists’ Dr. Meeske sees a big distinction between little mouths in Hastings that aren’t exposed to fluoride in their water.

“They’re just at a greater risk for tooth decay than kids from surrounding towns that do have access to fluoride,” Meeske said.

Versus surrounding areas like Kearney and Superior whose water is fluoridated.

“We do see kids from those communities that have tooth decay, but it’s not nearly as severe and we don’t see as much as we do with our local kids here,” said Meeske.

Jodi and her family live in Axtell where she says the water has no added fluoride.

“Ya know it’s, it’s worrisome as a parent,” said Jodi Hinrichs.

She wasn’t exposed to fluoride in her water as a child either.

“As a result I had a lot of cavities growing up. And I know with my boys that’s something we wanted to avoid. So both of my boys take a supplemental vitamin that has fluoride,” Hinrichs said.

Which is better than the alternative.

Dr. Meeske explains that without fluoride in our water we can be sitting in these seats much more often, which can be very costly.

But of course there are some that are opposed to additives.

“Fluoride is probably a cheap trick,” said Butch Hughes.

Butch Hughes was one of the leaders in campaigning against fluoride back in 2008 when it was voted on in Hastings.

“Well, tooth decay comes from lack of brushing and lack of nutrition. Not lack of fluoride,” Hughes said.

“It’s just one tool in our tool box to help prevent a very common disease,” said Meeske.

Dr. Meeske says that adding fluoride to the water in Hastings would reduce a child’s risk for tooth decay by about 30 percent.

But in the meantime, there are alternatives.

You can have fluoride added to your teeth during a regular check up at the dentist or you can also take fluoride pills to help harden your teeth.