Got fluoride? Portland soon will,
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.