Portland Misses Out
In a recent special election, Portland voters chose not to fluoridate their water. Unfortunately, this decision means that 900,000 people of all ages — especially children from low-income homes — will experience 25% more tooth decay than they should. City residents will pay millions more in costs to fill cavities and undergo other kinds of dental treatments.
Hopefully the next step for Portlanders on both sides of this issue is to figure out alternative ways to tackle the problem of tooth decay in their community. Half of all first through third graders in Portland have tooth decay. No child should have to suffer from cavities, especially when they are preventable. Water fluoridation remains the cheapest, most effective way to prevent cavities before they even start.
While the outcome of this vote is disappointing, the overall trend across America is a steady expansion of fluoridation to new communities. In fact, over the past four years, we’ve seen an additional 20 million Americans gain access to fluoridated water. This trend reflects the solid evidence behind the health benefits of fluoridation.