FORT SMITH, Ark. — The city of Fort Smith is considering adding fluoride to the city’s drinking water supply without a public vote.

Fluoride May Be Added To Fort Smith’s Water Without A Vote The Fort Smith Board of Directors is weighing adding fluoride to the water, saying the chemical is good for teeth, especially in children.

“The fluoride takes place in the enamel, making teeth more resistant to the decay process,” Dr. Daniel Jones, a dentist, said. Without that protection, Jones said, teeth are more susceptible to problems.

“People without fluoride in the water have missing or decayed teeth. There is an obvious difference,” he said.

Fort Smith City Administrator Bill Harding said the board of directors is open to the idea, after shelving the proposal two previous times.

“Our board thinks the time has finally come. They are interested in seeing it,” Harding said.

Jones said the addition of fluoride in the drinking water supply would be unnoticeable to the public.

“You would not be able to detect a change,” the dentist said.

The directors probably won’t vote on the issue for another month or two, official said.

In order for the fluoride issue to go to a popular vote, several thousand voters would have to sign a petition.

Fayetteville starting adding fluoride to its water supply in 1992, the same year the idea was last rejected in Fort Smith.

Critics have expressed fear that the addition of flouride to the water supply could cause cancer.