Depending on who is asked, water fluoridation is either a modern marvel of preventative dentistry or a poison putting people in danger.
Wellington’s water practices are back in the spotlight for the first time since 2014 when the village became the first municipality in Palm Beach County to stop fluoridating its water. The village had been adding the element to the water since 2000.
The then village council listened to strong opinions on both sides of the argument before deciding to stop the fluoridation process in a close 3-2 vote.
The decision drew jeers from dentists and even a not-so-nice mention from the Washington Post’s Wonkblog, ranking the choice as one of the 11 worst policy decisions of 2014.
Many of the government and national health organizations say science is in their side in supporting the use of it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said adding small amounts of fluoride to water can reduce the change of tooth decay in children and adults by 25 percent.
The CDC linked a sharp decline in tooth decay to the fluoridation practice and went as far as to call it “one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.”
Other entities like American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, US Public Health Service and World Health Organization also support adding fluoride to water.
But there is still some controversy surrounding the idea, with groups rallying hard to fight against it.
The main opponent is the Fluoride Action Network, which boasts 79,000 members and thinks adding fluoride to water is mass-medicating the population without its consent.
It shows evidence that too much fluoride in water can cause problems with teeth, adding it could also have unknown long-term effects on bones and kidneys.
Palm Beach County is split. Some municipalities like West Palm Beach and Delray Beach have it in the water. Others like Jupiter and Palm Beach Gardens do not. The county water supply, which serves more than 400,000 people also includes added fluoride.
The debate in Wellington has already began, but if you have a strong opinion either way, the day to voice it is June 28 at 7 p.m. The council will be listening to both sides before making any decisions.