The City Council voted unanimously to keep fluoride in the water after a measure initially sought to remove the cavity-fighting agent.
On Tuesday, the Ocala City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that will keep cavity-fighting fluoride in city water despite an earlier version that sought to stop the practice of fluoridation after 63 years.
Still, during Tuesday’s regular council meeting, a few people opposed to fluoridation spoke against the practice, which started as an effort to reduce tooth decay in the United States.
“Sodium fluoride is not good for your teeth or cavities. Fluoride has been used to dumb down citizens of countries for many decades,” said Steven Jennings, who was against the addition of anything to the water.
Brigitte Smith asked the council to table the item and conduct further research on the issue.
“What it does, if you look at aluminum and fluoride together, fluoride carries aluminum to the brain,” she said.
But several dentists also spoke in favor of adding fluoride to municipal water.
Dr. Johnny Johnson, president of the American Fluoridation Society, was on hand to lend his support to the ordinance.
“I’m here to just really back you on your decision to consider and to approve this motion to continue 63 years of preventing cavities for your families,” Johnson said. “Cavities have fallen off precipitously in this country. We have a lot to be proud of. … You’re doing the right thing.”
In April, the city introduced a measure which would end fluoridation, but a groundswell of local medical and dental professionals against the idea caused city staff to backpedal.
Instead of ending fluoridation, the ordinance now ties the level of fluoridation to what the state requires and the Florida Department of Health recommends.
The issue came up because the previous ordinance, which dates to the 1950s, set 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.
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 with photos online at https://www.ocala.com/news/20190604/fluoride-here-to-stay-in-ocala-water