Last month two of my little patients underwent general anesthesia in an operating room to have dental work done on their teeth! One had a dental abscess, and the other had 7 rotten baby teeth. Both of these children have behavioral problems and developmental delays which make it difficult to brush their teeth. Their parents try --but even with special toothbrushes, there is only so much they can accomplish.
Two other toddlers showed signs of early decay that I noticed during their well-child check-ups-- white chalky areas of discoloration on the top front baby teeth near the gum line. Their parents were surprised because "but we help her brush her teeth!" However, our culture of toddler snacking on goldfish cracker and sippy cups of juice must have outweighed their brushing efforts.
I can't help but wonder which of my patients would not have these problems if Wichita had a fluoridated water supply. Statistics from other communities show that the incidence of dental decay decreases by 25% with water fluoridation. Fluoride is a mineral that already exists in Wichita water supplies, but at a concentration of less than what is needed to prevent dental decay. If we could just increase the fluoride in our water slightly from our natural mineral content of 3 parts per million to 7 parts per million, this would be enough to save many of the children in our community from dental disease.
Water fluoridation is a safe and preventative measure that is supported by every single large reputable group of public health and medical authorities: the CDC, the WHO, the AAP, the AAFP, the ADA, . . .
It's time the citizens of Wichita stood up for a safe and proven public health measure which would benefit EVERYONE, from infants to elderly citizens of all income groups. For more information on the subject, see the website www.ilikemyteeth.org