A 50-year practice is coming to an end after the Oconto Falls City Council voted 4-2 Aug. 8 to stop adding fluoride to the city water supply.

The decision came after considerable discussion, including appearances by four experts touting the mineral’s role in preventing tooth decay and promoting oral health.

Mary Rosner, an Oconto County public health nurse who said she was speaking as “a nurse and mom,” said the 1967 decision was an investment in community health.

For every dollar spent on fluoridation, $32 is saved in the cost of going to the dentist, Rosner said. She cited the example of the city of Antigo, which started adding fluoride to its water in 1949 but ceased in 1960.

“After 5 1/2 years with no adequate fluoride in water, second-grade children had 200 percent more decay, fourth-graders had 70 percent more decay, and sixth-graders had 91 percent more decay,” she said.

Antigo reinstated fluoridation in October 1965, Rosner said.

*Original article online at http://www.octimesherald.com/articles/news