31 May 2013

USA - Fluoride foes: focus on kids' oral health?

Our Opinion: Fluoride foes: focus on kids' oral health

Fluoridation is dead in Portland, but the issue of improving the dental health of this community’s children should not be.
Think about this: If the money and energy expended on the fluoridation fight could be redirected toward the dental needs of low-income families, what gains would be possible in oral health?
Fluoridation opponents did an efficient job of defeating the May ballot measure on the topic. During the campaign, many of these opponents argued for other methods of preventing tooth
decay and its health-related effects. We now challenge these fluoridation opponents to follow through on their assertions and exert an equal level of passion for the ongoing cause of children’s health.
With such a lopsided defeat of fluoridation in Portland, we doubt this issue will re-emerge for many years. Both sides should now concentrate their attention on the relatively poor state of dental health among this community’s most
vulnerable children.
Michael Connett · Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
So, let me get this right: The pro-fluoride side (1) has every major health and dental organization on its side, (2) is marinated in money from insurance companies, and (3) has, as it's purported mission, the goal of improving the oral health of children. But rather than putting the onus on these sensitive organization's souls to ensure dental care for low-income children (i.e., doing the job they're paid to do), we're going to put the onus on everyday people (most of whom were low-income) to come up with a solution because, hey, they had the temerity to reject the pro-fluoride lobby's take-it-or-leave-it, my-way-or-the-highway proposal? Hmmm... how about this instead: Let's demand that the dental trade organizations (that express such heartfelt sympathy for the plight of the poor during fluoridation campaigns) stop blocking efforts that would allow dental therapists to provide affordable care to these populations. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304441404577478723769027162.html If the Tribune bothered to ask low-income families what they *they* would prefer, the Tribune would learn that low-income populations want real dental care (e.g., dental therapists who can treat a cavity before it becomes infected), not cheap industrial crap in their water. Fluoridation proponents, of course, are never bashful of receiving praise for their 'saintly' efforts to help the poor; I'll reserve my praise, however, for those who seek to provide real solutions, not illusory ones. Achieving social justice is rarely easy, rarely convenient, and rarely the result of conventional wisdom. I salute those in Portland who stood up to the lazy-minded, short-sighted blowhards, by insisting on a better way. If John Lennon were alive today, I have no doubt that he would be proud.

No comments: