Got flu­o­ride? Port­land soon will,

Modern Healthcare - - MODERN HEALTHCARE -

Den­tists in Port­land, Ore., may have to ad­just their rev­enue pro­jec­tions.

The Ore­gon city that al­ways wants to be a lit­tle, well, weird voted last week to add flu­o­ride to its drink­ing wa­ter. It had been the largest naysayer in the na­tional de­bate about whether cities should flu­o­ri­date wa­ter as a way to pre­vent tooth de­cay, es­pe­cially in low-in­come chil­dren. It’s not just an is­sue within the Port­land city lim­its, how­ever. While 73% of the U.S. pop­u­la­tion drinks wa­ter treated with flu­o­ride, the rate is less than 25% in Ore­gon.

Op­po­nents of the mea­sure had wanted the gov­ern­ment to stay out of their faucets—ar­gu­ing that flu­o­ride is po­ten­tially un­safe and adding it to the wa­ter forces in­di­vid­u­als to take a med­i­ca­tion with­out their con­sent. Vot­ers had al­ready shot down the mea­sure twice be­fore ap­prov­ing it in 1978, but that plan was over­turned be­fore any flu­o­ride made it into the wa­ter. The City Coun­cil ap­proved an or­di­nance last week to flu­o­ri­date the wa­ter by March 2014.

It will make grow­ing up in Port­land a lit­tle less dis­tinc­tive. “I have had sev­eral den­tists com­ment on my and my chil­dren’s teeth, say­ing: ‘Oh, I can see you grew up in Port­land,’” na­tive Port­lander Mary Lou Hen­nrich told the As­so­ci­ated Press.

And while a mouth full of sil­ver fill­ings is un­doubt­edly old timey, the new mea­sure means more pro­tec­tion against the rav­ages of fair trade cof­fee, ve­gan muffins and craft beer.


Flu­o­ride foes like China Starshine—shown dur­ing a re­cent protest against flu­o­ri­dat­ing Port­land’s wa­ter—lost at City Hall.

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