After more research, the Palestine Public Works Department earlier this week pulled the ideas of eliminating fluoride from its water to save $15,000.
Deputy Public Works Director Felipe Garcia and Water Plant Supervisor Michael Norgaard approached the council more than two weeks ago about this cost-saving proposal.
The council tabled the matter at its Nov. 29 meeting, so more input could be gathered from professionals in the industry.
Earlier this week, Norgaard said additional research shows that the use of fluoride water is a benefit, especially to young children.
There are pros and cons on whether fluoride being in water is good or necessary, Garcia said.
Councilman Steve Presley, a pharmacist, thinks having fluoride in water strengthens teeth for very young children.
While it may not have much of an impact for adults, the fluoridated water could strengthen teeth for young children, which likely would pay dividends later in their lives, Presley said.
Different types of fluoride were also discussed, though Presley tried to quash how bodies react to different types of fluoride.
“Fluoride is fluoride,” he said. “It’s either there or not there. Long term, it is a benefit for children.”
Norgaard countered by saying that it’s not helpful for children under the age of two to only use fluoridated water.
Norgaard’s research showed him the values of fluoridated water, saying he talked to many professionals in the dental industry who told him about the benefits.
While Norgaard did not talk to many local dentists, Mayor Bob Herrington said that was probably wise.
He explained new dental books, by the time they arrive in dentists offices, are sometimes close to being outdated.
To get a clearer picture of what is being discussed, the research centers need to be contacted to get their input, Herrington said.
The American Dental Association maintains that fluoride water prevents tooth decay.
According to the ADA, an estimated 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental-related illness, and one study has shown that children who live in communities without fluoridation are three times more likely to end up in the hospital to undergo dental surgery.
Fluoride protects all ages against cavities, and studies show that fluoride in community water systems prevent at least 25 percent of tooth decay in children and adults, even in an era with widespread availability of fluoride from other sources, such as fluoride toothpaste, the ADA says in some of its literature.
For 70 years, the best available scientific evidence consistently indicates that community water fluoridation is safe and effective. It has been endorsed by numerous U.S. surgeon generals, and more than 100 health organizations, according to the ADA.
When it comes to the cost of treating dental disease, everyone pays. Not just those who need treatment, but the entire community, the ADA wrote in a report they did on fluoridated water.
The result is higher health insurance premiums and higher taxes. The average lifetime cost per person to fluoridate a water supply is less than the cost of one dental filling. For most cities, every $1 invested in water fluoridation saves $38 in dental treatment costs, the report stated.
After the discussion, Public Works Director Nick Perry said his department is OK with leaving fluoride in the water, and added it was a council decision.
“If we are making an impact on some of the population, we are OK with it,” Perry said before the council agreed.