As a department chair in charge of a nonprofit public health dental hygiene clinic, I see the consequences of the lack of water fluoridation on a daily basis. The majority of patients utilizing the clinic are the most vulnerable to poor oral health.
Water fluoridation will address inequities for families living in poverty. These patients come into our clinic year after year with severe cavities. By following the CDC recommendation of water fluoridation, our patients will have less decay and miss less work related to dental disease. We hear over and over in our clinic, patients cannot gain employment due to large cavities in their front teeth. My heart breaks hearing these stories every day.
As Spokane is the largest city in Washington without water fluoridation, I feel it is time to help meet the needs of the community. Since in 2010 the Washington state Supreme Court ruled fluoridation is an administrative decision of the city, I want to thank Spokane City Council for following 70 years of science to begin to look at implementing water fluoridation.
I am proud the city of Spokane is starting to address oral health inequities and taking this first step to implement this public health standard. I look forward to the day when water fluoridation is started and I can see the reduction in decay in patients at the EWU dental hygiene clinic.
EWU Dental Hygiene Department Chair