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MEEKER | My name is Kari Brennan. I am a dental hygienist in Meeker, Colorado. Due to the recent ballot initiative concerning Rangely’s water fluoridation system in the upcoming April ballot, I would like to share some information with you so that you may make an educated vote. We just had this on our ballot in Meeker last November and I feel compelled to speak to Rangely on the matter. Quality research and understanding all aspects of water fluoridation is important. Two helpful links I encourage you to research are https://ilikemyteeth.org/fluoridation/ and https://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/index.html . These links can help you better understand what water fluoridation is and why many communities are for or against it. Wikipedia and Google are not always credible resources in contrast to actual accredited research and information.
Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by defending your teeth against plaque, bacteria and sugar in your mouth. For young children, fluoride helps strengthen their teeth while they are still developing, but adults can benefit from this treatment as well. Fluoride is absorbed into the enamel of your teeth, and replenishes calcium and phosphorus to keep your teeth hard. Fluoride can reduce cavities in patients of any age, as well as repair the early stages of tooth decay, even before it’s visible. Using a fluoride toothpaste, drinking fluoridated water and visiting a dental office every six months can help make sure you are receiving the proper amount of fluoride to keep your teeth healthy.
I would like to share a story. A few years ago I became familiar with a pediatric doctor who practiced for many years in Glenwood Springs and their water is fluoridated. She moved her practice to Rifle, whose water had not been fluoridated for many years. She noticed a significant increase in tooth decay among her young patients. She, nor I, am saying the rampant tooth decay noted is due solely to lack of water fluoridation but it’s an obvious contributor. There are many studies available showing the difference in tooth decay rates among communities with water fluoridation compared to non-fluoridated water communities. The communities with non-fluoridation show a much higher rate of tooth decay disease. Sources out there saying fluoride is poisonous and causes other risks use references that are from third world countries that have areas high in fluorine and not regulated so the amounts are not in moderation and yes, these areas are dangerous.
Fluoride has a bad reputation to some people, but fully understanding that in moderation and properly regulated, everything, including water fluoridation, can be very beneficial. Drinking too much water can be poisonous, so we drink the right amounts that are researched and recommended and we benefit from that. Chlorine is added to the water in our treatment facilities and yet you don’t see a big hype about it. People know it’s dangerous in high or concentrated amounts, but properly regulated and properly injected into our water, it’s safe and effective. Many people may not always trust professionals but I am a professional in the dental field and I see day in and day out the ramifications and negative effects of my patients’ oral and systemic health when their dental care lacks. I’m not saying I have all the answers, but I do have years of experience and expertise in the matter.
By KARI BRENNAN | Special to the HT