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Follow the latest news and information from the Michigan Dental Association. We’ll keep you updated on current association activities, including the local community involvement of our member dentists.

Fluoride: Facts Win Out Over Fiction

OKEMOS, Mich. – Voters in Boyne City and Bronson made an important decision for the future oral health of their communities on Tuesday. Voters in both cities chose to continue optimally fluoridating their community water supplies — a widely supported public health measure aimed at protecting dental health, especially in children.

Voters in both cities chose by a 2-1 margin to fluoridate their community water supplies — Boyne City by a 68 percent vote in favor and Bronson by a 63 percent vote in favor.

“This vote revalidates our citizens’ desires to continue to protect our community’s dental health,” said Carl VanDomelen, organizer of the Boyne City-based Citizens United for Dental Health. “This has been a true victory for our citizens and a clear message to our City Commission.”

Dr. Tom Veryser, dentist and director of Michigan Community Dental Clinic, the local dental clinic that provides oral health services to those who are low income, uninsured and underinsured, also applauded the decision by voters.

“We are very pleased that the citizens of Boyne City have voted to restore optimally fluoridated water to their municipal water supply,” he said. “This economical and very effective public health prevention modality significantly reduces the incident of dental disease, and helps those most who may have the limited access to dental services. Boyne City is healthier as a result.”

Boyne City originally began adding fluoride to its water system at optimal levels when voters approved the measure in 1973. This past May, the city commissioners chose to discontinue the practice without voter approval. A group of concerned local citizens and health professionals — Citizens United for Dental Health — collected enough signatures to place the issue on the November ballot and launched a grassroots education campaign aimed at providing voters with reliable information on the benefits and safety of community water fluoridation.

Like Boyne City, Bronson city commissioners last summer decided that it was time to ask voters to reaffirm the community’s policy on community water fluoridation. The city has been adjusting its fluoride levels since 1967. The local health department recently approved a statement supporting the practice.

Adjusting the level of naturally occurring fluoride in community water supplies to ideal levels for dental health is a practice that first began in Grand Rapids, Michigan nearly 70 years ago. Since that time, community water fluoridation has continued to grow, with over 90 percent of Michiganders served by public water supplies receiving the benefits of optimal fluoride levels. In the United States, more than 74 percent of those on community water systems receive fluoridated water, with 67 percent of the U.S. population overall receiving this public health benefit.

The CDC has named the addition of fluoride to drinking water as one of the “10 great public health achievements” of the 20th century.

Voters are often faced with a barrage of misinformation and scare tactics and it can be difficult to wade through online resources to identify fact from fiction, opinion or speculation. For reliable facts on fluoride, the Michigan Dental Association encourages you to visit http://www.ilikemyteeth.org/ or http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/.

Media Contact:
Jenny Armistead
Michigan Dental Association
517-346-9412


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