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Texas dentists respond to fluoridation challenge


Dr. Israelson

Dr. Findley
McKinney, Texas
—When a McKinney city councilman proposed a resolution for the regional water district to stop fluoridating, local dentists quickly mobilized to attend and speak out against the move at a public hearing.

Dr. David McCarley, a McKinney dentist and past member of the ADA Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs, organized the call to action for the North Texas Dental Society. Those who spoke in support of fluoridation included ADA 15th District Trustee Hilton Israelson, Dr. John Findley, past ADA president, and six other dentists in Texas Dental Association's 4th District.

In late February, Councilman Ray Ricchi of McKinney asked the North Texas Municipal Water District to discontinue fluoridating the water supply that serves 1.5 million residents in Allen, Farmersville, Forney, Frisco, Garland, McKinney, Mesquite, Plano, Princeton, Richardson, Rockwall, Royce City and Wylie.

The North Texas Municipal Water District began fluoridating in 1981 at the request of its member cities. To cease fluoridating, the water district would need request letters from all of its member cities.

The McKinney City Council held a public hearing March 5 to discuss the issue and a standing room only crowd attended.

Dr. Israelson, a periodontist in Frisco, testified that fluoride benefits adults and children. The ADA trustee and former TDA president testified that children miss an estimated 51 million hours of school because of tooth decay and pain. "Had there not been fluoride in the water, that number would have been substantially more."

Dr. Findley, a Plano dentist and past president of both the ADA and the TDA, urged the city council to vote against the resolution because every $1 invested in water fluoridation yields approximately $38 savings in dental treatment costs. "At a time when we want better health care and better health at reduced cost, fluoride proves to be one avenue for providing good health with reduced cost."

Other TDA members who testified were Drs. Tammy Gough of Allen, Jerry Hopson of Bonham, Dr. McCarley, Robert A. Neal of Frisco, H. Arthur Nelson of McKinney, and Harold V. Simpson of Richardson.

The city council tabled the resolution pending receipt of additional information from the water district and will consider the issue again during a work session on April 2.