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Up for a vote, water fluoridation is favored in 3 communities

March 21, 2017

By Michelle Manchir

Voters and public utility leaders in three U.S. communities earlier this year voted to continue the public health benefit of water fluoridation.

Here is a summary of the votes:

Green Bay, Wisconsin
The common council voted 10-1 on March 7 to retain community water fluoridation for the utility here that serves about 135,000.

The ADA and the Wisconsin Dental Association had sent letters in support of fluoridation to council members, known in Green Bay as alderpersons.

Photo of Dr. Crum
Dr. Crum
“Council members came prepared and well versed on the benefits of fluoridation,” said Dr. Paula Crum, a Green Bay periodontist and Wisconsin Dental Association Northeast Region Trustee. “It’s difficult to argue with dedicated dental professionals and oral health advocates who respectfully share legitimate science and documented results of safety, effectiveness and affordability gathered over 70-plus years of community water fluoridation experience. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but not their own facts.”

Dr. Crum said Wisconsin Dental Association member dentists and dental hygienists, along with representatives from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ Oral Health Programs and from statewide oral health advocacy and public health organizations, testified in support of fluoridation during public meetings.

“This was truly a team effort over many months and the WDA sends a sincere thank you to all who were involved in helping with this successful outcome,” Dr. Crum said.

The Green Bay Water Utility began adding fluoride to its water in 1957.

Proctor, Vermont
The majority of voters at a town meeting March 7 said “yes” to keeping their local fluoridation program, which serves about 2,000 customers.

Vaughn Collins, executive director of the Vermont State Dental Society, said a letter from the dean of the Harvard School of Public Health, Dentistry and Medicine about the benefits of fluoridation, as well as some shared personal anecdotes from locals who supported fluoridation, may have helped educate voters.
“In a rural state like Vermont, where many people live on well water, it’s critical that our municipal systems are fluoridated,” said Mr. Collins. “This is a big victory toward that end.”

Second South Cheatham Utility District in Kingston Springs, Tennessee
The three-member utility board here voted in February unanimously to continue water fluoridation following two public meetings that drew both opponents and advocates of the public health measure.

Dr. Leon Stanislav, a dentist for 40 years who lives in the county next door to the one the Second South Cheatham Utility District services, was among those who shared the scientific evidence of the safety and benefits of fluoridation.

“This board was an enlightened group willing to listen to the science,” Dr. Stanislav said.