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Guest Commentary: 'Yorktown Should Continue Fluoridating Its Water Supply'

Yorktown Town Board members will hold an informational hearing to consider whether the town's practice of adding fluoride to the drinking water supply should be discontinued.

  • Editor's Note: The Yorktown Town Board will hold an informational hearing on Jan. 22 at Town Hall to consider whether the town of Yorktown’s practice of adding fluoride to the drinking water supply should be discontinued
  • Carl Tegtmeier, DMD, a Yorktown resident, has submitted to Patch the following guest commentary. 

On Jan. 22, at 7:30 p.m., the Yorktown Town Board will hold an information hearing on whether the town should continue its current practice of fluoridating its drinking water supply, something the town has been doing since 1965 without any controversy and without any problems to the public.

To date, 55 Yorktown dentists and pediatricians have communicated their support for fluoridation to the Town Board. From a public health perspective, continuing fluoridation is a win-win for our residents with stronger teeth and bones, less cavities and saving residents money overall.

After 65 years of research involving thousands of studies published in respected scientific Journals, the full weight of evidence indicates that fluoridation, when used at levels known to promote oral health, iseffective in reducing dental decay and is safe.

These rigorous scientific studies have been conducted and peer reviewed by experts in the fields of oralhealth, medicine, biophysics, chemistry, toxicological pathology, and epidemiology.

Over 100 respected national and international organizations involved in fostering public health support fluoridation. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called fluoridation one of the “great public health achievements of the 20th century.”

Here are just some of the facts

  • As of 2010, 74% of the U.S. population received fluoridated drinking water.
  • 42 of largest 50 cities in the US, including New York City, fluoridate their water supply.
  • Much of Westchester County fluoridates its water supply.
  • Studies have shown that fluoridation reduces tooth decay by 20 to 40 percent.
  • Fluoridation provides benefits to all age groups, including older adults.
  • Fluoride in toothpaste does not provide full protection against decay; fluoride in water builds on what’s in toothpaste.
  • Fluoridation offers the greatest return-on-investment of any public health strategy and provides savings to both governments and citizens.
  • In most cities, every $1 invested in fluoridation saves $38 in unnecessary dental treatment costs.
  • Fewer cavities reduce Medicaid costs, paid for by all county and state taxpayers.
  • Fewer cavities reduce out-of-pocket dental bills, especially for individuals and families without dental insurance and senior citizens on fixed incomes.
  • Adding fluoride to a public water supply costs taxpayers much less than having to pay for doctor prescribed fluoride supplements.
  • Fewer cavities mean less time is lost from work and school for dental visits.
  • Fewer cavities mean less pain and suffering.

More information about the benefits and safety of fluoridation will be presented at the Jan. 22 hearing. I hope you’ll be able to attend.

For more information about fluoridation, go to www.ada.org/fluoride and http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/

Carl H. Tegtmeier, D.M.D.

Chairman, Dental Health Planning & Hospital Dentistry Committee, Ninth District Dental Association (the local component of the American Dental Association)

Scott Petricig January 17, 2013 at 06:12 PM
Maybe I'm confused about this, but from a previous article: "The facility’s fluoride feed system is in need of repair and has been taken off-line preemptively. Production from the Amawalk facility (approximately 40 percent of daily demand) will continue to be fluoridated, until the facility is taken off-line in mid-January, for on-going maintenance projects. At that time, no fluoride will be added to the water. This will remain in effect until a new chemical feed system is designed, funded and constructed at the Catskill Water Treatment Facility or the Amawalk plant is put back on-line (spring 2013)." It sounds like they're only temporarily stopping fluoridation and it's because maintenance is needed; it's not that they just want to stop fluoridation.
Bob Rohr January 17, 2013 at 06:20 PM
I personally think it is now unnecessary at this point in history. All toothpastes have fluoride in them as well as some mouth rinses.
Evan Bray January 18, 2013 at 01:34 AM
Bob, I grew up in a community that didn't fluoridate their water. My teeth are extremely cavity filled. My mother (god rest her soul) was a nurse practitioner and always loathed that my hometown didn't. It's pretty standard practice and the AMA and ADA both recommend it. The only reason not to do it is if Yorktown is banking on drawing of the water district general fund (I hear it's at about 5 million today) to give us all "tax cuts." They did draw over 800K this year for no good other reason than to offset other tax raises, right? I'm not being sarcastic. I don't pretend to be a tax expert and you have exhibited a good grasp of the local budgets. Any insight would be appreciated. I think if you look at any of the neighboring communities, a majority (if not all) do it.
Evan Bray January 18, 2013 at 01:37 AM
Yorktown, as I understand it, would have to authorize the funds for the new system, if we are to get it back. Seems to me, a few town board members may be putting on their tin-foil hats for this vote.
Evan Bray January 18, 2013 at 01:40 AM
The system went off line on January 4th.
Bob Rohr January 18, 2013 at 01:45 AM
I am no health nut. When they stated fluoridating water it was necessary. Today as I said you have fluoridated toothpaste, rinses etc. There was a concern that maybe it was so pervasive, maybe people were getting too much. People actually tend to put too much toothpaste on a brush. I think maybe we don't need to spend all that money for a problem that does not exist. If we were to expend money for water quality I would would rather see filtration and ozone treatment rather than chlorine added. Ozone is used extensively in Europe. It is cheaper and does not rust pipes.
Sonja Hardy January 18, 2013 at 04:10 AM
My two adult children have grown up without fluoride - and have no cavities. But my neighbour grew up in fluoridated Melbourne, Australia, had dreadful tooth decay, and now has a full set of dentures. So I doubt lack of fluoride in the water had anything to do with your cavities. Fluoride works topically, not systemically. Even the CDC admits that. So why do they keep pushing to have it in the water? Vested interests is one big reason. Read the dubious history of fluoridation in investigative journalist Christopher Bryson's excellent book, "The Fluoride Deception" if you want to learn the facts.
Sonja Hardy January 18, 2013 at 04:13 AM
Consider what Dr Hardy Limeback, recently retired Professor of Preventive Dentistry at Toronto University has to say about fluoridation at this link: http://cof-cof.ca/2012/09/dr-hardy-limeback-bsc-phd-biochemistry-dds-dental-fluorosis-permanent-tooth-scarring-caused-by-fluoridation/ Here are some excerpts: “In my estimate, repairing all those teeth with objectionable fluorosis costs families (on average) more money than it costs to treat the dental decay that fluoridation supposedly prevents.” “Dental fluorosis caused by water fluoridation is scarring our kids’ teeth for life. The practice is morally and ethically indefensible and it has to end.” Dr Limeback used to be an advocate of fluoridation, until he researched it himself. Because of what he learned he issued a public apology to his former students for previously having promoted the practice. That speaks volumes about his courage and ethics - and about this unethical, outdated, unsafe and ineffective practice.
Sonja Hardy January 18, 2013 at 04:16 AM
To learn about fluoridation from experts that do not have vested interests, look at these resources: The Case Against Fluoride (ISBN: 9781603582872) by Dr. Paul Connett, Dr. James Beck, and Dr. Spedding Micklem. A Response to Pro-Fluoridation Claims (free extract): http://www.fluoridealert.org/uploads/proponent_claims.pdf Professional Perspectives on Water Fluoridation: http://www.fluoridealert.org/fan-tv/prof-perspectives/
jwillie6 January 18, 2013 at 04:17 AM
The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say. Many of the states with the longest fluoridation, many over 50 years, have by far the worst teeth. How is that possible if fluoride protects teeth? Consider the following states: Kentucky, which has been 100% fluoridated for over 40 years. Government records show that Kentucky leads the nation in the number of dental cavities in children, and in the number of completely toothless adults. The same ineffectiveness is evident in many states and cities, such as West Virginia, Washington D.C., Boston, Detroit, etc. Fluoridated Chicago 3rd graders tooth decay rates increased from 59% to 63% in recent years. (2004 – 2009) and their untreated tooth decay went from 32% to 36%. West Virginia is 92% fluoridated for many years and comes near last place in the nation with 38% toothless. But look at Hawaii: with the lowest fluoridation rate (9%), Hawaii has the lowest rate of toothless residents in the US (10%). This shows the absolute ineffectiveness of fluoridation. _______________________________________________
Sharon Sutherland January 18, 2013 at 08:29 PM
Fluoride is a drug that may prevent tooth decay but is not good for the rest of your body. My nutritionist recommends drinking boiled or distilled water.
GasMeUp January 19, 2013 at 01:12 AM
Sharon, distilled water, ok- but boiling fluoridated tap water results in a HIGHER concentration of fluoride in that boiled water. It does not boil off.

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