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Wichita rejects fluoride

November 19, 2012

By Stacie Crozier, ADA News Staff

Wichita, Kan.—Wichita remains one of the largest cities in the U.S. that has not fluoridated its water, as voters rejected a bid to fluoridate Nov. 6.

Dr. Meng
“It's unfortunate that Wichita will continue to be saddled with the unnecessary pain and costs associated with one of highest rates of tooth decay in Kansas,” said Dr. Sara E. Meng, president of the Wichita District Dental Society and a member of the Wichitans for Healthy Teeth coalition. “We remain hopeful that the day will come when Wichitans will embrace this beneficial health practice.”

Despite the efforts of more than 500 dentists, physicians and other medical professionals who supported the petition drive led by Wichitans for Healthy Teeth, voters rejected fluoridation by a 59 percent to 40 percent margin.

The coalition presented a petition to the city council in August signed by more than 11,000 individuals. Kansas law requires the city council to either adopt fluoridation or put the measure on the ballot. Wichita voters had previously rejected fluoridation in 1964 and 1978.

In Crescent City, Calif., voters opted to remove fluoride from the city water system by a margin of 524 votes to 402. In November 2010, voters in this Northern California coastal town rejected a ballot measure 57 percent to 43 percent that would have removed the fluoride from the water of some 7,500 city residents and thousands of water customers in unincorporated areas.