The trouble with contentious issues is that legitimate arguments and facts exist on both sides. This is the case regarding the fluoridation of water.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recognized water fluoridation as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.
According to the CDC, the proper amount of fluoride from infancy through old age helps prevent and control tooth decay and community water fluoridation is a widely accepted practice.
In 2008, 72.4 percent of the U.S. population on public water systems had access to fluoridated water. In 2010, that percentage reached 73.9.
But the same CDC warns of over exposure to fluoride, which can result in fluorosis. Fluorosis is the change in the appearance of the tooth’s enamel and can vary in severity from barely noticeable white spots to staining and pitting.
The Fluoride Action Network claims that most countries don’t fluoridate their water. They say only 11 countries have more than 50 percent of their population drinking fluoridated water and only 5 percent of the world’s population drinks artificially fluoridated water.
Arguments against adding fluoride to community water systems include:
• that it is an inappropriate form of mass medication.
• that it is difficult to control dosages because people drink varying amounts of water.
• that fluoride is readily available in other forms.
Anti-fluoridation efforts are becoming more common in all corners of the country. For example, Portland, Ore., voted against fluoridation of the city’s water just this May.
Other communities have voted to end fluoridation systems that were already in place, like Albuquerque, N.M.
A couple of years ago when the city first began discussing fluoridating the community’s water supply, nearly every dentist voiced support for the measure, either through signatures or by attending Sheridan City Council meetings.
They say fluoridated water helps prevent dental disease on a community-wide basis.
Likewise, those who are against fluoridation have signed a petition that will be submitted to the Sheridan City Council.
Even local businesses are making their opinions on fluoride public. Earlier this week the Black Tooth Brewing Company noted that “fluoride is toxic to yeast which we need to make beer,” and that they couldn’t afford the filtering system necessary to remove the fluoride.
No matter the decision made by the Council, one only hopes they listen to the majority of their constituents.