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Fluoridation spotlighted in vote, video and resources

June 27, 2016

By Michelle Manchir

Machias, Maine — When about 25 people gathered in June at the annual town meeting here, one question on the town warrant was whether to continue community water fluoridation in this town of about 2,200.  After the vote, 23 wanted to keep fluoridation and only two wanted it gone, according to the Maine Dental Association.

Voters responded to the question "[Shall] fluoride be added to the public water supply for the intended purpose of reducing tooth decay?" after one resident asked town leadership to remove fluoride from the local water supply earlier this year, the association said.

Dr. Mary MacKay, who works in the nearby town of Lubec, spoke at the meeting to help educate voters about the benefits and safety of fluoridation.

"Don't deny the next generation the opportunity of water fluoridation," Dr. MacKay said she told the crowd.

After a short discussion, most who attended voted to continue the town's fluoridation program, which, according to local news reports, is 50 years old.

"Dr. MacKay's influence was clear and shows how important it is for dentists to take the lead in supporting fluoridation," said John Bastey, director of governmental relations for the Maine Dental Association.

Fluoridation video available for consumers

The ADA has produced a three-minute, consumer-friendly video about community water fluoridation and its value for preventing tooth decay. The video features experts including Dr. Howard Pollick, National Fluoridation Advisory Committee member, ADA fluoridation spokesman and health services clinical professor in the department of preventive and restorative dental sciences at the University of California, San Francisco; David Krol, M .D., chair of oral health for the American Academy of Pediatrics; and Julie Frantsve-Hawley, Ph.D., the executive director of the American Association of Public Health Dentistry.

"I'm a mom, I'm a dental hygienist and I'm also a researcher and I like to wear all three hats," Dr. Frantsve-Hawley says in the video. "I always try to find the best science and evidence when I'm trying to make decisions about my children. Fluoride, especially for community water fluoridation, is one of those no-brainers."

The shareable video discusses the safety and origins of fluoride. It is available at ADA.org/fluoride. Members and state dental societies can share the video on their websites and in social media.

The ADA supports local fluoridation education efforts

The ADA Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations works with state and local dental societies, as well as individual members, to ensure communities involved in initiating or working to retain fluoridation programs are aware of the Association's support for fluoridation.

The Association can send letters of support for fluoridation to decision-makers in communities. Anyone who would like a letter to be sent to a community in their state can contact Jane McGinley, manager of fluoridation and prevention health activities for the council.

For more information about fluoride and community water fluoridation, including resources from the ADA, visit ADA.org/fluoride.