Leesburg, Florida Just Voted to Initiate Fluoridation

Posted & filed under Communities Supporting Fluoride, Fluoride and Public Health, Sustain or Initiate Fluoridation in your Community.

Guest author Johnny Johnson, Jr., DMD, MS is a Pediatric Dentist in Pinellas County, Florida. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and current President of the American Fluoridation Society.

On the evening of Monday June 10, 2024, nestled next to other cozy communities in Central Florida, the City of Leesburg, population 50,000, voted to initiate fluoridation in their community.

After a piece of equipment had gone bad two decades ago, the decision was made in 2004 to discontinue fluoridation. As in many other communities, this horse rode off into the sunset without the community being aware of it.

Dr. Chris Wollenschlaeger, a second-generation orthodontist, told the story of how his father began noticing that he was seeing more and more cavities around the brackets. Chris’s dad sniffed out the problem. He went to the water system’s Consumer Confidence Reports and discovered that fluoridation had ceased. This set off an effort by local dentists to reinstate fluoridation.

On June 10, the Leesburg City Commission voted 5-0 to move forward with ordering and installing the necessary equipment. This was the last step in a process that spanned two city councils. (Under the makeup of one of those councils, the pause button had been hit.) Now, however, through the efforts of Drs. Wollenschlaeger , Wade Winker, Summer Young, Don Ilka, and Alan Hays, this feat was accomplished. The expert preparation and execution of their testimony sealed the uncertain deal. What appeared to be a possible vote of 3-2 turned into a unanimous victory. (A commissioner who was originally opposed changed their vote as a result.)

The water department anticipates that it will take about six months to get it up and running. Current and future residents of Leesburg can look forward to benefiting from prevention of dental disease just by filling their glasses from the tap. Hip hip hooray for the greater good.