My children were lucky enough to have access to good dental care. As a teacher of 3, 4 and 5 year old low income children, however, I witness daily how dental decay affects their lives. I have sat at lunch with children who are in so much pain that they cannot eat most of their food. They receive fluoride at school but the damage occurs before they enter our school system. Then, unless they have access to care, they go without fluoride on weekends and during the summer year after year.
Kristin Teigen has insurance, and her kids have access to dentistry. She supports water fluoridation as a means of addressing inequalities among white children and children of color.
Dental decay is painful and costly. Latino, Native and African Americans all have significantly higher rates of dental decay. Community water fluoridation helps reduce disparities in oral health among different socioeconomic groups. That’s why our coalition includes organizations representing so many Portland communities. We’re in this together, for the benefits it provides for everyone.
As a mom, I want the best for my kids. As a citizen, I know that some kids in Portland suffer every day from extreme dental decay. That makes it hard to do school work, to concentrate, to have fun…to just be a kid. I support community water fluoridation because it works for everyone, making teeth stronger so they last a lifetime. Any mom would want to avoid suffering for her kids, and anyone who cares about the health of our community should support 26-151.
When I entered a Government run boarding high school as a freshman, I worked in the kitchen and learned that fluoride was in the water throughout the school buildings and dorms. The school dietician explained to me that my teeth must last me for life and that fluoridated water would help that way.
Years later, when I became City Manager for a small Alaskan Native village, one of the first things I did was contact the State Health Department and petitioned them to assist us in setting up a fluoridated water system. And they did! To this day, the water supply for our hometown village in Alaska, is pure and sweet as ever. And fluoridated. And everyone in town is happy about it because the numbers of tooth aches, tooth decay, and extractions are down significantly.
RETIRED/U.S. ARMY/ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGER/PROGRAM ANALYST
As a full-time nutritionist for the Tioga County WIC program in New York, I saw the effects of tooth decay everyday. The majority of the people I saw couldn’t afford regular dental care. Many had to wait to be seen at the county dental van that offered free cleanings and fillings. I encouraged fluoride supplements, but these children needed something more. Fluoridated water bathes the teeth with fluoride throughout the day discouraging decay and inhibiting plaque causing bacteria. I am now finishing my Master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition at OHSU. I am happy to support Healthy Kids Healthy Portland and encourage everyone to vote yes in May!
As the volunteer dental director of the Creston Children’s Dental Clinic, the only school-
based dental clinic in Multnomah County, serving low-income children in the Portland
Public School system, I see first-hand the disparity in oral disease between rich and poor.
None of my patients chose who their parents are or what socio-economic class they were
born into. Our committed volunteer staff of dentists and hygienists is working very hard,
especially in all aspects of prevention, to help level the playing field for all students so
that they, too, can better their lives through education.
Healthy kids with healthy mouths learn better.
I support water fluoridation because I support healthy children in the great city of Portland! This vote could give all kids a more equitable chance for healthy teeth. We have decades of research that support its safety. Just like we keep our drinking water clean, we should also keep it fluoridated.
Water fluoridation prevents tooth decay and promotes oral health in children and adults. Water fluoridation prevents the pain and unnecessary infection associated with tooth decay and the suffering associated with the loss of teeth. Water fluoridation can improve quality of life and save health care dollars that would have been spent on tooth extractions and fillings.
Over the last sixty years water fluoridation has been proven to have a noticeable impact on the oral health of communities where it has been implemented. Water fluoridation can benefit a community as a whole and not discriminate against those who do not have the opportunity or resources or knowledge to utilize fluoride rinses, systemic fluoride, or fluoride varnishes.
Deidre L. Burton, MD
A graduate of Oregon Health & Sciences University, Dr. Dee Burton is a board certified pediatrician with Metropolitan Pediatrics, LLC.