Would You Call This “Great News”?
It is nothing to celebrate when 51% of the children in a city or community have cavities. Tooth decay has many consequences for kids, affecting their ability to eat, sleep and learn. Yet, believe it or not, an anti-fluoride group in Portland, Oregon sent an email calling it “great news” that the decay rate had dipped slightly in Multnomah County (Portland) from 56% to 51%.
Obviously, any improvement is welcome. However, it should concern us when roughly half of school children are affected by tooth decay. The report that contained this data also showed that oral health for some communities within Portland is not improving.
The 51% statistic did not reassure The Oregonian. Instead, the newspaper wrote an editorial reaffirming its endorsement of fluoridation:
“… the latest numbers hardly undermine the case for fluoridation. Fifty percent is certainly an improvement over 56 percent, but the bottom line is still alarming: Half of kids in grades one through three have cavities. Whether you call this a crisis or something else, why shouldn’t Portland respond by approving a safe, exhaustively studied, widely used and relatively inexpensive mode of prevention?
“… results indicating a 50 percent cavity rate among young schoolchildren argue far more strongly for fluoridation than against it.”
Opponents also choose to ignore the fact that the dental health of Portland children is considerably worse than Seattle, which is fluoridated.