Portland, Oregon, residents have rejected a plan to fluoridate city water for the fourth time since 1956, making it the largest city (pop. 900,000) in the United States without fluoride in its water supply. In the 1950s, cities throughout the U.S. championed water fluoridation as a way of fighting tooth decay, but the effort backfired when a condition called fluorosis emerged, which ironically is characterized by tooth enamel discoloration and erosion.
Anti-fluoride forces say that water treatment is not the key to better dental health for children. Fluoride Action Network Executive Director Paul Connett, Ph.D., has a better idea. “We urge the legalization of dental therapists in Oregon who will treat the low-income children dentists refuse to treat.”