Analysis: Wolk Gets Out in Front on Fluoridation

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Wolk-Assembly-AnnounceIt is easy to view everything through the lens of electoral politics, especially when an announced candidate for the  State Assembly makes a very public statement on a rather controversial issue.  On Sunday, Mayor Pro Tem Dan Wolk became the first Davis City Councilmember to public endorse the idea of fluoridated water.

His campaign insists he did so because it was the right thing to do, but at the same time, he has waded into turbulent waters of an issue that has divided the Davis community for over 50 years.  As our analysis suggested on Sunday, we believe there is a good possibility that fluoridation – if placed on the ballot – would fail in an up or down vote.

The piece that appeared in the Davis Enterprise was co-authored by Julie Gallelo, the executive director of First 5 Yolo, and Art Pimentel, the former mayor of Woodland.  Curiously enough, an identical piece appears in the Woodland Daily Democrat without Dan Wolk’s name associated with it.

They argue, “Since the mid-20th century, community water fluoridation – the careful adjustment of naturally occurring fluoride levels in water to strengthen tooth enamel and reduce dental decay – has proved to be an effective preventative public health measure, reducing tooth decay by about 25 percent over a lifetime, per the American Dental Association.”

“Across the nation, more than 70 percent of people utilize community fluoridation, according to the Centers for Disease Control,” they write. “In California, fluoridation is mandated by state law, if funds are available. And, right next door, the citizens of West Sacramento, Vacaville and Sacramento, to name a few, enjoy the benefits of fluoridated water every day. Pediatricians in Davis prescribe fluoride drops to parents to give to their children.”

“Today, Yolo County’s public health community – dentists, pediatricians, public health officials and every major, local health care provider – is united in support of community water fluoridation in Davis and Woodland,” they continue. “These are the folks who are on the front lines of combating dental disease. They know what policies work and what do not.”

They argue, as well, that “cost should not be a reason to reject fluoridation.”

First, they note, “With responsive bids on the joint water project required to come in 20 percent below the engineer’s estimate, upon which we based our rates, rates most likely would not have to increase further to accommodate fluoridation.”

Second, they note further, “Fluoridation is worth the cost, regardless of whether rates rise or not. The American Dental Association estimates that for every dollar invested in water fluoridation, $38 is saved in dental treatment, missed work and other costs. This is a classic example of an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – an expensive, painful cure at that.”

They argue that fluoride is the most “cost-effect manner” to “help the most vulnerable in our society.”

While Dan Wolk became the first Davis City Councilmember to back fluoridation, Brett Lee, three weeks ago on the Vanguard, put forth a compromise.

He noted that, while he was “impressed by the arguments and information put forward by both sides” of the fluoridation issue in their presentations to the WAC, “it does seem that adding fluoride to the drinking water supply would improve the dental health of many in our community.”

“What was interesting though was that many countries around the world have been able to achieve the same or better dental health without water fluoridation,” he wrote.  “These countries appear to have more robust early childhood dental care programs than we currently do.”

In fact, while the ADA cites statistics that show the reduction of tooth decay by 25 percent, comparisons in the rate of dental decay between those communities with fluoridation and those without show the trends basically to be running evenly.

“I was also quite surprised by the estimated cost of adding fluoride to the water system.  The estimated cost of water fluoridation has an initial capital cost of between $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 and an ongoing operational expenditure of around $150,000 to $200,000 per year,” he wrote.  “These are very serious sums of money.  The average ratepayer would be paying an extra $15/yr for the operational costs alone.”

So, he asks, “Instead of using the money to pay for water fluoridation, why not use that money for early childhood dental care programs?”

“In this decision I am guided by what I would want for my family.  Would I want fluoride added to the water system or would I want my child to receive yearly preventive dental care and be taught proper dental hygiene?  I know that this is not a strictly either / or decision, but it does help to think about it this way to get a sense of prioritization,” he writes.

He continues, “For the same amount of money that would be spent on a non-targeted fluoridation program, we could target those funds towards low income families with children and provide them with proper preventative dental services.  Yes, per household the cost of fluoridation is only around $15/year, but what percentage of households do not have access to dental health care?  If we estimate that percentage to be 10%, then for the same amount of money, we could be providing those families with approximately $150/year to help provide them with dental care.”

“The problem with that approach is that we are not allowed to use people’s utility fees to pay for things other than the running of the utility system,” he writes.  So, instead, he offers an alternative: “I would like to have a voluntary check off box on the city services bill where our community can voluntarily donate a dollar or two each month to early childhood dental care programs.  It is my hope that sufficient funds could be raised in this manner so that we could provide robust early childhood dental programs for our children.  This would be the most efficient way of dealing with the dental health needs of our community and would result in all of us saving money on the cost of water fluoridation.  In addition, the benefits of this approach would be immediate; there would not be a delay until 2016.”

Despite the support of Dan Wolk on this issue, we continue to question the viability of fluoridation politically in Davis, particularly as it becomes intertwined with the still-contentious surface water project.

Is the pro-fluoridation community willing to accept a political compromise, particularly as it acts to separate the question of fluoridation from the overall question of water supply?

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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75 thoughts on “Analysis: Wolk Gets Out in Front on Fluoridation”

  1. medwoman

    [quote]Is the pro-fluoridation community willing to accept a political compromise, particularly as it acts to separate the question of fluoridation from the overall question of water supply ?
    [/quote]

    What Brett Lee offered ( by his own statement) is not a compromise, it is an alternative. A compromise implies that each side gives up something and retains some of their own points in order to arrive at a mutually acceptable ( if not desirable ) middle ground. Brett’s proposal should not be seen as a compromise since in his proposal, the anti fluoridation side wins entirely. The pro side gives up entirely. And as he himself stated in a conversation shortly following his piece here on the Vanguard, there is no guarantee that any voluntary fund raising effort will be successful either in the short term or sustainable in the long term.

    When I asked him if he was willing to take leadership on such a program, he stated that he was willing to take leadership on fundraising. He had not discussed the feasibility of his proposal with those who would actually be providing the materials, education and care virtually all of whom are backing water fluoridation.

    He also made the point that if adopted, fluoridation would not go into effect for about two years. So after a lot of thought about this, I would like to offer a modification to his proposal. If the council will not approve water fluoridation now, I would like to suggest that if Brett Lee can demonstrate his ability to come up with sufficient sustainable funding, and if it can be demonstrated that such a program is able to serve the target population, then the council should take this into account with a re look at this issue in two years with implementation of fluoride as the automatic default if these efforts are not successful.

    This would provide the opportunity for any who are sincere in their desire to improve public health, but are opposed to fluoridation to step up and demonstrate that their alternatives are superior. If they are unwilling or unable to do this, then they should step aside and allow water fluoridation to go through.

    With regard to fluoridation, as a frequent poster on this site likes to say:
    It is time to “lead, follow, or get out of the way”.

  2. medwoman

    [quote]His campaign insists he did so because it was the right thing to do, but at the same time, he has waded into turbulent waters of an issue that has divided the Davis for community for over 50 years.[/quote]

    Dan Wolk won a lot of respect for me with this public statement of his position. Isn’t this exactly what we expect our public leaders to do ? Stand for what they believe is the right thing to do especially if it means wading into turbulent waters ?

  3. SODA

    David, can you obtain the reason his name was not on the Daily Democrat article? My only reason is that he did not author the piece and is just putting his name on certain versions. I am surprised the ‘co authors’ allow this…..

  4. SouthofDavis

    David wrote:

    > It is easy to view everything through the lens
    > of electoral politics especially when an announced
    > candidate for the State Assembly makes a very
    > public statement on a rather controversial issue.

    I would not call fluoridation “rather controversial” since I bet there are more people that make an effort to drink unpasteurized milk than people who will make an effort to drink non fluoridated water…

  5. Don Shor

    I think it’s ‘rather controversial’ because of the intensity, not the percentage, of the opposition. And the support, for that matter. I’d bet most people really don’t care about it one way or another.

  6. Frankly

    [i]Brett’s proposal should not be seen as a compromise since in his proposal, the anti fluoridation side wins entirely. [/i]

    This statement is surprising coming from a poster that frequently opines she would prefer we replace our system of competition with one of cooperation. The word “wins” is very telling. Welcome to the human competitive game medwoman!

    What is missing in this argument from medwoman is any consideration of the ultimate goal driving the demand for fluoridation of the water.

    Let me start by suggesting the following:

    [b]To reduce the occurrence of tooth decay in the general population[/b]

    In consideration of this goal, there are certainly alternative approaches to achieving it. And, given that there are alterative approaches that are much more acceptable to a greater number of Davis residents, a compromise directed at one or more of these alternative approaches would seem rational, logical and practical.

    Medwoman, since you seem to disagree with this, please explain to me what compromise you would be willing to accept. What alternative approach could possibly exist to make you feel like it was a win-win?

  7. SODA

    Thanks Will and you are certainly more experienced in these things than I am, however, if Dan had authorship in the article, I think it is disingenuous to leave his name off of the article. The article was a semi-scientific piece and that does not fly.

  8. B. Nice

    “I think it’s ‘rather controversial’ because of the intensity, not the percentage, of the opposition. And the support, for that matter. I’d bet most people really don’t care about it one way or another.”

    I agree, I’m repeating myself, but I think if this issue goes on a general election ballot it would pass. A special election I’m not so sure about.

  9. B. Nice

    “And, given that there are alterative approaches that are much more acceptable to a greater number of Davis residents, a compromise directed at one or more of these alternative approaches would seem rational, logical and practical.”

    I would say theses approached are more acceptable to a very vocal minority who oppose fluoridation, not the greater population of Davis who I don’t think would care or would support fluoride being added to the water.

  10. Carlos Danger

    [quote]I would say theses approached are more acceptable to a very vocal minority who oppose fluoridation, not the greater population of Davis who I don’t think would care or would support fluoride being added to the water. [/quote]

    You have no way of knowing what the majority thinks.

  11. medwoman

    Frankly

    I already stated my alternative proposal if the council were to decide not to fluoridate now… But I can repeat.

    I would like to offer a modification to his proposal. If the council will not approve water fluoridation now, I would like to suggest that if Brett Lee can demonstrate his ability to come up with sufficient sustainable funding, and if it can be demonstrated that such a program is able to serve the target population, then the council should take this into account with a re look at this issue in two years with implementation of fluoride as the automatic default if these efforts are not successful.

  12. Carlos Danger

    We’ve already covered this, Obamacare covers flouride for children. What’s the problem, do you liberals not trust Obamacare? Why are we even talking about funding this when it’s already covered?

    [quote]Kids under the age of 19 are eligible for more services at no extra charge, such as dental/vision coverage, hearing tests, [b]fluoride supplements[/b] [/quote]

    [url]http://www.freshbenies.com/blog-post/10-ways-obamacare-will-affect-you[/url]

  13. Frankly

    Thanks Carlos. It appears that medwoman already has her alternative in place. No need to fluoridate the water then. Why are we still talking about this? Why are any Democrat politicians still pushing this? It is redundant now that Obamacare is the law of the land.

  14. Carlos Danger

    Frankly, do they not trust their Chosen One’s ACA Health Care? The individual mandate is still in place and I’m sure that all the unfortunate children that Medwoaman is referring to will be able to get Obamacare insurance for free with free flouride supplements. So what’s the problem? Why aren’t our esteemed council members on top of this?

  15. SouthofDavis

    Carlos Danger wrote:

    > You have no way of knowing what the
    > majority thinks.

    Rather than just saying B. Nice is wrong when saying the majority of Davis supports fluoridation how about telling us “why” you think the statement is wrong. If I say the “majority of Davis” likes eating healthy food will you just respond “I have no way of knowing that”?

    P.S. I wonder if “Carlos Danger” may be thinking of running for mayor of Davis if things don’t blow over in NY (and Dan goes to the Assembly)?

  16. Davis Progressive

    “Frankly, do they not trust their Chosen One’s ACA Health Care? “

    who they? you’re assuming that (a) they support obama, (b) they support the aca, (c) they think the aca’s provisions are preferred to fluoridation

  17. Frankly

    Carlos – I agree. I don’t know why I keep forgetting this point. There are several liberals that post on this blog that tell me to stop complaining about Obamacare because “it is the law of the land”. It does not matter that Democrats railroaded it down Republican’s throats without any reasonable collaboration… to them they won this step toward their dreams of socialized, government-run healthcare.

    They won, and it includes free fluoride for all the children. This is the exact same demographic that causes their social justice impulses to flair and demand fluoride in the drinking water.

    So, game over. No more debate. The problem has already been solved. We are already paying dearly for it at the federal level.

    WE NO LONGER NEED FLUORIDE IN THE WATER BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT IS PROVIDING FREE FLUORIDE TO CHILDREN THROUGH OBAMACARE.

  18. SouthofDavis

    Carlos Danger wrote:

    > I’m sure that all the unfortunate children that
    > Medwoaman is referring to will be able to get
    > Obamacare insurance for free with free fluoride
    > supplements. So what’s the problem?

    As I’ve mentioned before I don’t care either way if we get fluoride in the water.

    What I do know if that even if Obamacare mandated that fluoride was available next to cigarettes at every store most of the parents of “unfortunate” kids would not bother to get any every few days when they go to the store (and buy someone $10 of food with their EBT card to get $5 cash to buy more cigarettes)…

  19. Don Shor

    medwoman:
    [quote]it can be demonstrated that such a program is able to serve the target population,[/quote]
    What is the target population? As noted, the Affordable Care Act provides for free fluoride to everyone who needs it. I consider this one of the many very beneficial aspects of the ACA. Is there some part of the population that you think will be unable or unwilling to access fluoride?

  20. B. Nice

    [quote]Is there some part of the population that you think will be unable or unwilling to access fluoride?[/quote]

    Yes, the one’s described by SouthofDavis for one. The children of this demographic is who I’m most concerned about.

  21. David M. Greenwald

    So here are two points I would like to raise as I have largely stayed out of this debate.

    1. There is a population group that I do not believe you can serve with any of the alternatives to fluoridation. How large a group are we talking about in Davis – probably a larger group than we would like to believe.

    2. At the same time, when I take a look at the statistical comparisons of decay rates across communities, I am unimpressed that we have the statistical backing that some of the proponents claim.

  22. Don Shor

    David: I’ve also mostly avoided this topic, since I don’t have any intensity of feeling about the issue one way or another. But as noted on a previous thread, quoted by Bob Dunning in his column was ‘Alex'”
    [quote]Alex: “Since the group in question is the indigent, they are already covered for fluoride supplements (as a chewable tablet) at no cost through Medi-Cal. The tablets can be prescribed by a dentist, pediatrician, family doctor, nurse practitioner or physician assistant.” [/quote]
    So what population group are you referring to that never sees anyone capable of prescribing these?
    We’d be down to a very tiny percentage of the Davis population, I’d think, since the indigent are completely covered. It’s a high cost to fluoridate and maintain the fluoride levels. Nobody ever answers the question as to where the funding is coming from. And it seems like a very inefficient way to reach that tiny sub-set of the population you seem to be hinting at.

  23. B. Nice

    [quote]So what population group are you referring to that never sees anyone capable of prescribing these? [/quote]

    I’m not worried about this group not be able to get a prescription, I’m worried that their caregivers won’t either fill the prescription, or follow through with actually giving kids the fluoride.

  24. David M. Greenwald

    Don: in order to get the treatment, they have to have parents or adults in their lives on top of things. If the kids are not brushing their teeth regularly, it stands to reason that these additions are not going to be all that helpful.

  25. Carlos Danger

    SOD
    [quote]Rather than just saying B. Nice is wrong when saying the majority of Davis supports fluoridation how about telling us “why” you think the statement is wrong. If I say the “majority of Davis” likes eating healthy food will you just respond “I have no way of knowing that”?
    [/quote]

    SOD, first of all I didn’t say B. Nice was wrong, I just said he/she has no way of knowing that. Secondly, I think it would be B. Nice’s responsibility to prove her statement is right, not mine to prove it wrong. I agree a majority of Davis likes eating healthy, that’s a no brainer. But the flouridation issue is much more divided so I don’t think my saying “you have no way of knowing that” is out of bounds at all.

  26. Carlos Danger

    So even though flouride supplements are going to be provided for free under Obamacare and that the target population that can’t afford the flouride will get it free some still want to make the whole city have to drink flouride in their water because a few might slip through the cracks because of bad parenting? Do I have that right? So tens of thousands will have flouride forced on them because of a few bad parents? You people can’t be serious.

  27. Carlos Danger

    [quote]P.S. I wonder if “Carlos Danger” may be thinking of running for mayor of Davis if things don’t blow over in NY (and Dan goes to the Assembly)? [/quote]

    SOD, Carlos would most likely win in Davis, just my opinion, don’t make me prove it. LOL

  28. Carlos Danger

    Frankly:
    [quote]WE NO LONGER NEED FLUORIDE IN THE WATER BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT IS PROVIDING FREE FLUORIDE TO CHILDREN THROUGH OBAMACARE. [/quote]

    Frankly, you dead right. Isn’t it kind of funny to now watch these Davis liberals run from Obamacare?

  29. Carlos Danger

    [quote]It doesn’t avoid the problem (1) I cited. [/quote]

    And I answered your non problem. Are you saying flouride should be forced on everyone because a few bad parents or guardians that will get the flouride for free might be bad caretaker? Are you going to answer that? How many does that leave being that the problem of free floride has been solved?

  30. David M. Greenwald

    No you’ve misconstrued by statement.

    1. There is a population group that I do not believe you can serve with any of the alternatives to fluoridation. How large a group are we talking about in Davis – probably a larger group than we would like to believe.

    You didn’t answer my “non problem” because (A) it’s a huge problem and (B) none of what you offer addresses it. Did I state that I think “fluoride” should be “forced”? No. I stated that the alternatives presented so far do not address it.

    The problem is not free fluoride. Through medi-cal I can get free fluoride for my dependents. The problem is getting that fluoride onto the teeth of kids.

    How many? I don’t know. I stated that up front. I have no opinion on whether fluoride should be dispensed through the water supply. See also problem No.2.

  31. B. Nice

    “So tens of thousands will have flouride forced on them because of a few bad parents? “

    I never said that. I said I’m worried about this population, who I think would be served by fluoridation. Personally I have no problem with fluoridataton and would willingly have it added to my water in order to help the kids of these “bad parents” but I have stopped short of saying we should “force it on others”, which has left my still on the fence.

  32. Carlos Danger

    [quote]“So tens of thousands will have flouride forced on them because of a few bad parents? ”
    [/quote]

    B Nice, follow the thread, that post wasn’t addressed to you.

  33. Carlos Danger

    [quote]The problem is not free fluoride. Through medi-cal I can get free fluoride for my dependents. The problem is getting that fluoride onto the teeth of kids.
    [/quote]

    Talk about a nanny state. So free flouride is provided but since some won’t use it we must flouridate everyone’s water. What’s next, not all kids eat healthy so should we ban all non healthy foods in Davis so only healthy food is available?

  34. Don Shor

    How much will fluoridation cost? How does Dan recommend it be funded? Does he (or do any proponents) believe that the cost of fluoridation is included in the current rate structure? If not, do they advocate a separate rate proposal for it? Is there outside funding available for the installation and ongoing costs?

  35. David M. Greenwald

    Carlos: you’re still jumping ahead of where my stated position is. I only stated that this is a problem that the alternatives offered thus far do not address. I didn’t go further than that.

  36. Carlos Danger

    David, that’s the point, free flouride does address the problem. You can’t force people to do the right thing, all you can do is give them the avenues and assets and point them in the right direction. When free health care is implemented for the poor you still can’t force the children’s parents to take them to the doctor.

  37. David M. Greenwald

    I’m don’t think that’s a sufficient solution. If adults want to act stupidly towards themselves, then fine. Children are a different matter.

  38. B. Nice

    [quote]When free health care is implemented for the poor you still can’t force the children’s parents to take them to the doctor.[/quote]

    Which is the beauty of adding fluoride to the water.

  39. Frankly

    Those pushing fluoride in the drinking water are guilty of moral hazard.

    [i]Talk about a nanny state. So free fluoride is provided but since some won’t use it we must fluoridate everyone’s water. [/i]

    You got that right.

    But I wonder why since these same people don’t demand vitamins be added to the water to help those kids with parents lacking the means or motivations to ensure a healthy diet?

    Or, since there are so many unwanted babies from young girls without parents that will help them get protection, why don’t we put birth control drugs in the water?

    Or what about Ritalin in the water; since there are bound to be hyper-active kids who unnecessarily struggle in school because their parents don’t get them treatment for their hyper-activity.

    Let me attempt to answer:

    1 – Not everyone needs extra vitamins and some might be harmed by ingesting or absorbing them from our tap water.

    2 – Not everyone needs birth control medication and some might be harmed by ingesting or absorbing it from our tap water.

    3 – Not everyone needs Ritalin medication and some might be harmed by ingesting or absorbing it from our tap water.

    Exactly.

  40. B. Nice

    [quote]Or, since there are so many unwanted babies from young girls without parents that will help them get protection, why don’t we put birth control drugs in the water?[/quote]

    What about the boys getting these girls pregnant with unwanted babies without parents that will help them get protection, what do got for them?

  41. Frankly

    [i]What about the boys getting these girls pregnant with unwanted babies without parents that will help them get protection, what do got for them?[/i]

    I assume you are not making a point of putting condoms in our drinking water.

    Actually, as I understand, men taking birth control medication reduces their libido, so you would be doing something “for them”.

    Seriously though, the only reasonable answer is education and incentives for good behavior. Same with tooth decay.

  42. Frankly

    The water-drugsters are flailing about quite nicely. They are struggling to make a case to distance themselves from their moral hazard.

    One big problem they face is the lack of any scientific proof that fluoride in the water actually helps prevent the number of dental carries. Conversely, there are plenty of data that proves that fluoride drugs in the water does NOT provide any benefits.
    [quote]Fluoride advocates often claim that the reduction in tooth decay that’s occurred since the 1950s is a benefit of fluoridated water, but the facts just don’t add up. For example, in 1999 the CDC claimed that dental caries declined precipitously during the second half of the 20th Century. But what they failed to mention is that tooth decay rates “precipitously declined” in ALL Western nations, regardless of whether or not fluoridation was used – and most of those countries did NOT fluoridate!7[/quote]
    [quote]The following demographic studies and fluoridation trends make it clear that fluoridation has very little to do with whether or not you
    develop cavities.

    •In Japan, fluoridation has been virtually nonexistent since the 1970s, yet rates of dental caries have declined since that time – in spite of their increased sugar consumption.8

    •In the town of Tiel in the Netherlands, water fluoridation was discontinued in 1973, and by 1993, rates of dental caries had declined.9

    •In the town of Kuopio, Finland, water fluoridation was stopped after 1992. In 1995 and 1998, dental caries had either decreased or stayed the same.10

    •In two towns in former East Germany, a significant fall in the prevalence of dental caries was seen in the twenty years following cessation of water fluoridation.11

    •In Cuba, water fluoridation was discontinued in 1990, and in March of 1997, dental caries had significantly trended downward.12

    •In Canada, “the prevalence of caries decreased over time in the fluoridation-ended community while remaining unchanged in the fluoridated community.”13
    [/quote]

  43. B. Nice

    [quote]I assume you are not making a point of putting condoms in our drinking water. [/quote]

    No, just wanted to make sure boys were held as accountable as the girls for these unwanted babies, and on a much more subtle level I was making the point that while it’s very easy for boys to obtain birth control, it’s much more challenging for girls. Way off topic, sorry;-(

    I agree with about education, but the fact that my main concern is the very young this creates a challenge.

  44. B. Nice

    What about school’s incorporating fluoridated milk or water into school lunches. (of coarse they should probably get rid of the flavored milk and sugared breakfast cereals….)

  45. B. Nice

    [quote]One big problem they face is the lack of any scientific proof that fluoride in the water actually helps prevent the number of dental carries. Conversely, there are plenty of data that proves that fluoride drugs in the water does NOT provide any benefits. [/quote]

    Frankly, for the sake of argument lets say there was conclusive proof that fluoride did provide benefits, would you still be opposed to it?

  46. Don Shor

    Schools are an obvious avenue for providing fluoride. I’m guessing the response will be that kids don’t go to school until they’re 5 – 6 years old.

  47. B. Nice

    [quote]Schools are an obvious avenue for providing fluoride. I’m guessing the response will be that kids don’t go to school until they’re 5 – 6 years old.[/quote]

    Was also thinking Head Start Programs….

  48. Frankly

    [i]Frankly, for the sake of argument lets say there was conclusive proof that fluoride did provide benefits, would you still be opposed to it?[/i]

    Yes, for all of the other reasons I have written about. The fact that there is no proof it helps, and plenty of proof that it harms, is just icing on the cake as they say.

    I was just thinking… sugary drinks are responsible for much of the tooth decay in children. If you want to get fluoride into the systems of the kids, why not put it in baby formula and in soda pop?

  49. Frankly

    [i]No, just wanted to make sure boys were held as accountable as the girls for these unwanted babies[/i]

    Way off topic again, but I can’t help but ask the question. Unless the girl is raped, it would seem that she holds all the keys to preventing unwanted pregnancy. All the girl has to do is just say no, right?

    The woman’s movement celebrated women’s sexual freedom, but then gets to blame men for women’s failure to adequately control themselves? Something seems very wrong with this.

    Maybe putting birth control drugs in the water is a good idea if we have a chronic problem of women failing to control their sexual freedom to the point of creating so many unwanted children that then go on to drink sugary sodas and get tooth decay. Of course I don’t have the data handy, but I think birth control drugs in the water might do more to reduce dental carries than fluoride in the water.

  50. Practical

    Since we have beaten the fluoride issue to death over the past few weeks/months, lets look at the political calculus that the Wolk campaign used in making this pronouncement.

    What it says to me is that they believe that either:

    — the single issue of fluoridation is only a minor blip in a multi issue Assembly race, or

    — the anti-fluoridation forces are loud of voice, but low in numbers, or

    — both

  51. B. Nice

    [quote]Unless the girl is raped, it would seem that she holds all the keys to preventing unwanted pregnancy.The woman’s movement celebrated women’s sexual freedom, but then gets to blame men for women’s failure to adequately control themselves? [/quote]

    If a man doesn’t wish to get a women pregnant he also has some options…one is to not have sex, (or is that just an option for women.)

    My point was that men/boys have much easier access to birth control then women (and don’t need permission to get it), all they have to do is go to a drug store and buy condoms, women/girls have a few more hurdles then this.

    [quote]Maybe putting birth control drugs in the water is a good idea if we have a chronic problem of women failing to control their sexual freedom to the point of creating so many unwanted children that then go on to drink sugary sodas and get tooth decay. Of course I don’t have the data handy, but I think birth control drugs in the water might do more to reduce dental carries than fluoride in the water.
    [/quote]

    Hmm, again I wonder why women are fleeing the republican party…..

  52. Don Shor

    [quote]— the single issue of fluoridation is only a minor blip in a multi issue Assembly race, or [/quote]
    That may be true with respect to the Assembly race, especially since the district is not dominated by Davis. But it is probably not true, as David pointed out yesterday, with respect to any vote on the water project rates.
    This is one of the things many of us were concerned about when Dan and Joe announced for Assembly.

  53. Anonymous Pundit

    The primary issue is whether people should make decisions for themselves, or have those decisions made on their behalf by elected officials or so called “experts”.

    Is Dan Wolk a Republican, believing that it is his role to exercise his personal opinion (as an elected official) in place of (or on behalf of) the public’s opinion?

    Or, is Dan Wolk a Socialist, believing that government knows best and that we the people should subordinate ourselves to the opinions of the “experts”?

    This issue is vastly more important than the irrational use of scarce resources or the application of a medically inappropriate approach.

  54. medwoman

    Don

    [quote]Is there some part of the population that you think will be unable or unwilling to access fluoride?[/quote]I

    When I was writing this I was thinking about both the preschool and school aged children. I have it from my pediatrician friends, all of who prescribe fluoride drops, that compliance with this form of fluoride is very poor and this is in a solidly middle class group of folks for the most part. Apparently the pattern is that one or two prescriptions get picked up, and then they just stop using it. If this is a problem with the population that we see at Kaiser, I can only imagine that it would be much worse for those whose parents can’t easily just leave work a little early to pick up their prescription, or take time off to take their kids to the dentist.

    Those who like to sling around that term “nanny state” would do will to at least try to look at this from the point of view of perhaps the mother who is working two minimum wage jobs to support her kids, instead of from the point of view of someone with two parents both of whom have cars and flexible hours. Just a thought. Many of the problems facing children who grow up economically disadvantaged are not about the ability to pay for the medications but about the hoops parents have to jump through to get services and the barriers that exist on many levels to getting the children the care they need.

    So when Brett Lee states that his question is “what would I want for my child ?” maybe that is the wrong question. Maybe a more appropriate question might be, “what would I want for my child if I didn’t have the means to get them to a dentist on a regular basis ?”
    I don’t think that Obamacare covers time off work and transportation costs for parents who can’t afford it.

  55. B. Nice

    “The primary issue is whether people should make decisions for themselves, or have those decisions made on their behalf by elected officials or so called “experts”

    Sometimes we make decisions based on the greater good of society, not just for ourselves. Most of us would suffer no ill effects from exposure to West Nile Virus, but we spray our parks with poisons, in an effort to protect those susceptible to the disease.

  56. David M. Greenwald

    Don and B. Nice: Obviously you guys are unfamiliar with head start, because they have the kids brush their teeth there. But it only goes so far, since most kids leave school by 3 pm and won’t be there for the key nighttime brushing.

  57. B. Nice

    “Don and B. Nice: Obviously you guys are unfamiliar with head start, because they have the kids brush their teeth there. But it only goes so far, since most kids leave school by 3 pm and won’t be there for the key nighttime brushing.”

    Just brainstorming was to get fluoride to this population if it doesn’t end up in our water, which would be my preferred option.

  58. Frankly

    [i]Hmm, again I wonder why women are fleeing the republican party….. [/i]

    There are plenty of women in the Republican Party, just not those that blame men for every thing wrong in their lives.

  59. B. Nice

    “There are plenty of women in the Republican Party, just not those that blame men for every thing wrong in their lives.”

    I don’t blame them for everything…(not sure I could get my husband to approve this message).

  60. Carlos Danger

    [quote]No such thing as plenty of women .

    biddlin ;>)/ [/quote]

    By George Biddlin, that’s the first thing you’ve ever said that I totally agree with.

  61. Carlos Danger

    [quote]I don’t think that Obamacare covers time off work and transportation costs for parents who can’t afford it. [/quote]

    Frankly, I sit here shaking my head because it doesn’t matter what you do, it will never be enough. You give poor families free health care and free flouride and it’s still not good enough because you didn’t pay for their time off work and give them a ride to the doctor.

  62. medwoman

    CD

    [quote]Frankly, I sit here shaking my head because it doesn’t matter what you do, it will never be enough. You give poor families free health care and free flouride and it’s still not good enough because you didn’t pay for their time off work and give them a ride to the doctor.[/quote]

    My comment was made within the context of continuing to address a very specific question from Don Shor about whether or not I felt there were those who would not be willing or able to avail themselves of this help and my answer is yes. There are barriers beyond simply financial.

    You seem to be seeing this in an entirely different light. You seem to think that I am eager to “give away” something. I don’t believe that this would matter to you if you did not fear that I was taking something “away from you” in order to do so. What this misses from my point of view, is that if we strengthen children now, they are more likely to be self sufficient in the future. The child who is healthier, stronger now will more likely be able to learn more now and be more productive in the future. A very conservative poster here has made a distinction between “a hand out” and ” a hand up” with the latter being a worthy approach in his eyes. The problem for me with this distinction is that it isn’t possible to tell in advance which is which when dealing with children. Who is wise enough to know which poor child will grow up to be on welfare and which is going to become your local gynecologist ?

    For me, public health is about strengthening not only individuals, but the society as a whole. This means eliminating barriers to health whether financial or logistical. I do not see this as either liberal or conservative, for after all, won’t we all be strengthened by a healthier society ?

  63. Ernesto

    But medwoman, water fluoridation doesn’t work in practice. There is no correlation between water fluoridation and caries reduction.

    The fact that are health practitioners and public health officials are so devoted to a policy that has now been rejected by most nations in the world is troubling.

  64. medwoman

    Ernesto

    We will just have to disagree upon what the evidence shows about the effectiveness of water fluoridation. I believe that it is one effective strategy. It would not be my preferred strategy. Best would be singly party payer for all health care including dental, mental, and optical as well as
    Medical. I don’t think I will see that in my lifetime although it is demonstrably better in terms of public health than our lack of health care system.
    So given that I will not achieve my proffered approach anytime in the foreseeable future, I will continue to promote a strategy that I believe is effective and obtainable.

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