Wednesday, October 29, 2008

This smile brought to you by fluoridation

It’s a bit hard to imagine that there’s still opposition to fluoridation, but lo and behold, the Annual Meeting’s very own 2008 host city just recently declared victory for its residents’ pearly whites.

Just this past June, the San Diego City Council voted unanimously to fluoridate the city’s water supply — a victory due, in part, to the blood, sweat and tears of public health advocates, who never stopped rallying support for this proven prevention technique. In a Tuesday afternoon session on “Fluoridation in California: Is San Diego Fluoridated?” key figures responsible for San Diego’s new fluoridated future told of their journey, the obstacles they faced and the ways they overcame. And like the interwoven wires of my junior high braces, their victory relied on a large network of stakeholders and community leaders to set the fluoridation record straight.

But first, let’s take a trip back to the 1950s, when opponents argued that fluoridation was a communist conspiracy (seriously, they did). Regardless, in 1952 San Diego decided to fluoridate its water supply, but suffered a major setback in 1954 when a ballot initiative passed making fluoridating San Diego’s water illegal. Fast forward to 1995: the California governor signs legislation requiring certain water agencies to fluoridate, but only with nontaxpayer funds — and so San Diego was exempt. But in 2007, San Diego’s First 5 Commission, which promotes wellness among young children via tobacco taxes, voted to give San Diego water districts funds to fluoridate.

It’s a good thing too: San Diego Council President Scott Peter told session attendees that San Diego is the largest U.S. city that doesn’t fluoridate its water, and only 9 percent of the city’s imported water is fluoridated. Plus, studies have found that hundreds of thousands of California children suffer from tooth decay, with Hispanic children suffering at nearly twice the rate, said Eleanor Nadler, director of the San Diego Fluoridation Coalition. Finally, presenter Marjorie Stocks, of the California Dental Association Foundation, stressed the long-term coalition building and patience needed to bring fluoridation to any community.

“Fluoridation is not a sprinter’s game, it’s definitely a marathon,” she said.

So raise your glasses (of fluoridated water) to public health prevention!

— K.K.


Jack said...

Don't let it fool you. Fluoridation is one of the ten worst public health ideas of this and the last century. The reason the fight to fluoridate all of the U.S. is a marathon is because the scientific evidence against this risky and unnecessary practice is firmly rooted in common sense. Very few countries on the world continue to poison their citizens by forcing mass medication on their population with no controlled dosage using a non-FDA approved drug with long term adverse health effects. The movement against fluoridation continues to grow because you can't outspend the truth. For much further information on this issue, please visit

Live to Hunt.... said...

I love it, even on the APHA Annual meeting blog an anti has found his way in to spout the usual rhetoric. I wish one of these folks would answer the question as to why 70% of the US is fluoridated if it is such a bad thing? Are we really all just a bunch of lemmings ready to dive off the cliff? Move on...

ibelieve said...

Fluoridation is definitely bad. Last week, when I was having dinner with Elvis and Nixon at Area 51, they totally agreed. I think Ghosthunters is planning an episode on it -- the truth will be exposed!

LilBeat said...

No way, ibelieve -- Elvis told me fluoridation was the key to finding a map on the back of the Declaration of Independence that leads to a national treasure! Oh wait, wrong fictional conspiracy.