A call to keep fluoride in the city’s water

I believe that it is vital to understand the importance of supporting continued fluoridation in Terrace’s community water supply.

By Sherry Saunderson

I believe that it is vital that your readers understand the importance of supporting continuing  fluoridation for Terrace’s community water supply.

I am writing as a concerned B.C. dental hygienist, with over 40 years experience in the prevention of dental disease and education.

I have personally witnessed the benefits that families experience when living in areas that have fluoride in the drinking water.

This mineral is also often found occurring naturally in deep water wells on the prairies. Working in Calgary in the ‘70’s, I met many rural patients with excellent teeth from fluoride minerals naturally occurring  in their drinking water.

The benefit to children’s teeth that form while in the presence of the mineral fluoride (at 0.7 ppm or less) is the creation of an enamel structure that is stronger, whiter in color, with shallower grooves and more resistance to acids that form in the mouth. Calcium, phosphorous and fluoride can also bond together in adult teeth to protect against decay- a process known as remineralization.

Please consider these facts:

After water fluoridation was introduced in Canada in 1945, communities experienced a 65 per cent reduction in tooth decay over the control communities not fluoridated.

Today, with fluoride and prevention, people over 65 rarely lose all their natural teeth compared to a generation ago. I have lived for 65 years cavity-free thanks to fluoride, healthy diet choices and the habit of brushing after I eat.

Dental disease is a bacterial infection that can have deadly outcomes for those disadvantaged. Recently Americans Deamonte Driver, age 12, and Kyle Willis, age 24, died after abscessed teeth spread infection to their brains because they could not afford dental care. Fluoride in the water supply benefits everyone, including low income families, the working poor, those disabled and the elderly, by reducing their risk for tooth decay.

The cost of adding this natural mineral at 0.7 parts per million to Terrace’s  water supply  is a cost effective investment to prevent tooth decay and protect smiles! Especially when compared to the price to repair dental disease.

In the Vancouver Island town of Duncan (with no fluoridation),  the single most common reason for children requiring  hospital admission is to treat early childhood  tooth decay, at  $3,000 minimum per visit with a general anesthetic required.  The nearby town of Lake Cowichan, having fluoridated it’s water supply for years, had minimal need for pediatric dental treatment, according to a dentist who worked in both towns.

I can often tell which of my dental patients were raised in a fluoridated community just from viewing their beautiful smiles.

Decay treated after it has occurred is expensive – the smallest filling fee is at least $100 – a challenge for those on limited incomes.  While today the average diet is sweeter than ever with pop, ‘energy’ drinks and junk foods heavily marketed everywhere.

Please check out the following website and be informed of the real science behind this important public health prevention measure – www.Ilikemyteeth.org

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the leading national public health institute of the United States. It recognizes water fluoridation as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. Read more at www.cdc.gov/fluoridation

Please,  support  continued water  fluoridation  for  healthy smiles in Terrace.

Sherry Saunderson is a registered dental hygienist living on Vancouver Island. From 1918 to 1985 Sherry’s grandfather and father provided  gentle dental care to many Calgary families, so her passion for prevention is a family tradition. sherry.saunderson@gmail.com