JONESBOROUGH, TN (WJHL) – Leaders in one Tri-Cities town voted Monday night to ban a product from the city’s water supply that was being added to improve the dental health of its residents.
Joneborough’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen ended an on-going debate to allow fluoride to be added to city water, as they voted to stop adding the chemical to Jonesborough’s water supply. The one “no” vote came from Alderman Terry Countermine.
The board initially raised concern years ago after a visit to the city’s water plant. Mayor Wolfe said he and other aldermen noticed that fluoride burned a hole through concrete, prompting a conversation on fluoride’s safety.
Two local doctors spoke with opposing views on fluoride in city water, based on individual research. Local dentist, Dr. Alan Burleson said fluoride helps fight cavities and tooth decay and there are no linked health concerns to fluoridated water. Dr. Burleson added that the greater good is to keep fluoride in the water for those who don’t have access to dental care.
Dr. Jay Jarman had a different view, he said fluoride delivered in public water supply isn’t the most effective way, fluoride only helps tooth decay if its on the surface of our teeth and fluoride has been linked to liver and kidney function in children.
The board worked out a compromise to work with local agencies and the Washington County School District on an oral health initiative to help children who are vulnerable.
“We can put something together that’ll get these kids the help they need with their oral health, you know kids aren’t being taught to brush their teeth necessarily at home,” Mayor Kelly Wolfe said.
The board has nearly 120 days to remove the fluoride from the water and work on the school plans. Local dentist, Dr. Alan Burleson supports fluoride and is hopeful they will reconsider.
Dr. Burleson added that the American Dental Association has a close eye on this decision and he will be in touch with them.
The American Dental Association supports the fluoridation of community water supplies.
According to the ADA’s website, more than 70 years of scientific research proves fluoride in community water is safe and decreases tooth decay rates by at least 25 percent.
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