BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — The beginning of May brought with it a renewed discussion in Brevard County on adding fluoride to the public water supply, a process called community water fluoridation (CWF).
Local, state and national entities who support the practice want to make sure the conversation continues.
What You Need To Know
- National groups like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Dental Association are lending their support to keeping fluoride in the water in Titusville
- A letter-writing campaign began following the halting of community water fluoridation in Mims by the Brevard County Commission
- Most leading health agencies support community water fluoridation
- Related: Brevard cuts off flow of fluoride to water supply in Mims
The May 4 vote to stop CWF in Mims came about following a roughly six-minute discussion without a period for public input. Some in the community, like Chrystal Woernley, said the process was unjust.
“There was no expert present on the subject to advise on the benefits of keeping the fluoride or even contrary, on the removal,” Woernley, a Mims resident, said. “Decisions involving the health of the community, regardless if you’re for or against the fluoride, should be an open forum discussion.”
Even before the topic of CWF becomes an official part of the Titusville agenda, the dental community wants to make sure there’s a discussion this time around.
“Because we weren’t allowed the representation or discussion we usually would like to have at these types of difficult and important decisions to be made, I think it’s important to get ahead and voice that this is extremely important to our children to our health, to our well-being,” said Dr. Yoshita Patel Hosking. "And from a public health perspective, this is just something that can’t be denied.”
Hosking was one of several medical experts who weighed in on the topic of CWF back in 2019 when it was being discussed in Melbourne.
She and others in Brevard County medical community believe Titusville should continue enjoying the benefits of the addition of fluoride. The Florida Dental Association shares the sentiment.
“Throughout 75 years of research and practical experience, the overwhelming weight of credible scientific evidence consistently indicates that fluoridation of community water supplies is the single most effective, safe, and cost-effective public health measure to prevent dental decay and repair early tooth decay,” said FDA President Andy Brown, in a May 20 letter to Titusville Mayor Daniel Diesel and the city council.
The Florida Dental Association wasn’t the only large entity to support the majority of Brevard County dentists in their effort to keep CWF for the more than 22,000 customers served by Titusville.
A letter sent on behalf of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that “evidence shows that schoolchildren living in communities where water is fluoridated have, on average, 2.25 fewer decayed teeth compared to similar children not living in fluoridated communities.”
One of the bodies that weighed in on the discussion includes the American Fluoridation Society (AFS), which pointed the Titusville City Council to recent literature from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) committee, which in February 2021, issued a review rejecting the National Toxicology Program's (NTP) assertion that fluoride negatively affects humans' cognitive abilities.
“NASEM said the assertion of a fluoride-IQ link was not relevant to low levels of fluoride, ‘including those typically associated with drinking-water fluoridation,’” said Dr. Johnny Johnson Jr., the president of the AFS, referencing the NASEM findings.
“The COVID-19 pandemic forced dental offices to close for a few months, except for emergency care. During this crisis — at a time when people could not obtain preventive dental care — residents of your community were at least able to get the exposure of fluoride in their tap water,” Johnson said. “That gave them the continued preventive advantage against the development of a cavity. Residents of non-fluoridated communities in our state were not getting that form of prevention.”
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists also made a plea to the city of Titusville to keep its water fluoridation intact.
“Children with healthy mouths have a better chance of overall health, because infection in the mouth can make a child more susceptible to infections in other parts of the body, such as the ears, sinuses and brain,” said AAPD President Dr. Jessica Lee in a letter. “Relationships have been found between oral infections and diabetes, heart disease and strokes.”
A representative of the city of Titusville told Spectrum News 13 on Monday that community water fluoridation “is not on the agenda nor under consideration by the City Council at this time.”
But after the vote over Mims requested by Commissioner Rita Pritchett spurred the ending of CWF just nine days later, the medical community didn’t want to wait for the topic to come up naturally.
“It’s not about pro or con or this is that. It’s just having an open discussion of what are the fears, what are the questions and what can we give them to make an informed decision,” Hosking said.
The Brevard County Dental Association is also pushing for the Brevard County Commission to bring up community water fluoridation for a public discussion. It created a Change.org petition that as of Monday evening has acquired 463 signatures.