To the Editor,
Community water fluoridation is listed by the CDC as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. Years ago, local health professionals successfully fought for water fluoridation in our community in order to improve the health of DeKalb County residents. The Tennessee Department of Health supports water fluoridation: "Properly fluoridated community water is important to the economic health of individuals and to our state."
The DUD needs to reconsider the decision to exclude fluoride from its water supply. One article in JAMA and 4 customer opinions against the addition of fluoride to the water supply are insufficient research and information upon which to make a decision that affects the health and well-being of so many residents across our community.
And yes, there are pros and cons to fluoridation. I had the opportunity to speak with an operator at the Smithville City Water Plant and heard some arguments against fluoridation. However, given the number of children in DeKalb County living in poverty (why schools are designated Title I schools) and the higher rate of health issues for the economically disadvantaged, it is in our best interest to continue to treat our water supply with fluoride. "Every dollar spent on community water fluoridation saves $38 in dental costs and helps keep our children in school, learning, instead of sitting in a dentist's chair with a toothache." (And it helps keep parents at their jobs.)
The decision to provide or not provide fluoride in the DUD water supply will have ramifications across our community from health care, to education, to employment. The DUD has a responsibility to make an informed decision and base that decision on what is in the best interest of the residents of our community.