Alaskan city will rethink decision to abandon water fluoridation

Alaskan city will rethink decision to abandon water fluoridation

A paper published in BMC Oral Health has found that the average number of caries procedures per child under six in Juneau, Alaska, has jumped from 1.55 to 2.52 per year since the city voted to stop adding fluoride to the water supply in 2007. Medicaid records before and after fluoridation ceased show that there has been a significant upsurge in the number of procedures taking place, just as predicted.

When Juneau voted to stop  water fluoridation in 2007, experts anticipated a rise in dental cavity procedures. Soon after, local dentists anecdotally said that this was indeed the case. Now, the numbers are in and a study examining Medicaid records before and after fluoridation ceased show that there has been a significant upsurge in the number of procedures taking place, just as predicted.

But the research isn’t winning over long-time fluoride opponents like David Ham, who was campaigned for its removal. He said: “I believe I have the right to have a public water supply that is pure and to decide for myself what medicines I wish to take, and I just don’t wish to be exposed to a toxic chemical, fluoride.” His solution is to “put a tax on sugary drinks and all of these other things, or do whatever we can to support good health through good diet.”

A similar finding happened in the UK when Welsh Water unilaterally withdrew the supply of fluoridated water in 1992. Neither the population nor the dental profession were informed and as a result, alternative methods of prevention. A study there found that there was an increase in dmft of Anglesey children (aged five) from less than one tooth per child, when the water was fluoridated to more than two by 2000. The Welsh Government has no plans to reintroduce fluoride to the water supplies however.

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