As the status of children in Spokane continues to deteriorate on the heels of Covid-19, there has never been a better time to adjust the level of fluoride in Spokane’s water supply.
Smile Spokane is an organization that works with schools, health care providers, and community leaders to understand oral health in a comprehensive way. We know that Spokane has the highest rate of dental cavities of any city in Washington. Children and families have been unable to access dentists for a protracted period of time and with the declining economic situation, this becomes yet another health inequity that lands disproportionately on children living in poverty and children of color.
When a student has dental pain, it is difficult to pay attention, let alone do school work and participate in a classroom. Imagine that same child, at home in pain with a shaky internet connection and no school breakfast, lunch or snack to help keep them focused. Preventing the cavities in the first place through fluoridation makes much more sense and is one less reason for students to fail.
Many residents of Spokane have thought that we already had the appropriate balance of fluoride in our water supply, when in fact we do not. The majority of voters understand how important community water fluoridation is, not only for families with limited resources, but for all children.
Right now, please contact your city council representative and encourage them to vote for one of the most important health issues in our community.
Chuck Teegarden, executive director, Communities In Schools of Spokane County