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Keep fluoride

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Monday’s City Council meeting will finally present a forum for a fair hearing on whether the city should continue its near 50-year practice of adding fluoride to the water supply.

The Jefferson-Lewis County Dental Society is prepared to expose the council to the science and facts that substantiate the value of use of minuscule amounts of fluoride in the water to strengthen tooth enamel to prevent nearly all tooth decay.

Already 184 million Americans are protected from tooth decay by fluoridated water and benefit from a significant breakthrough in public health.

Joining the Dental Society will be Dr. Jayanth Kumar, director of the state Department of Health Dental Bureau. The Health Department is one of the leading proponents of fluoridation of public water supplies.

The role of the Dental Society is significant. The Dental Society rises above the selfish desire to earn fees from treating tooth decay because of its commitment to healthy patients. Dentists are the most knowledgeable people in society about oral hygiene and have devoted generations of expert medical practice to the prevention of decay. And they stand by their remarkable commitment to healthy teeth.

Years ago, once the value of fluoride was discovered, students in Watertown’s public schools were summoned to the dental hygienist’s office, where their teeth were bathed in a metallic-tasting fluoride bath. Shortly thereafter, fluoride was added to the water system, ending that practice. The oral hygiene industry developed toothpaste with fluoride. This combination resulted in dramatic improvement of dental health.

The City Council and the three other candidates seeking open seats should listen carefully Monday night to the experts. The last thing Watertown needs is a reprise of the worldwide scorn that followed the council’s decision to regulate who could live in your home.

Protecting the teeth of youngsters has been an admirable and successful function of city government for more than 50 years. To reverse direction is irresponsible and sentences the next generation of children to a high incidence of tooth decay.

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