Environment, Education, Energy: Policy to People

Shawnee Can’t Afford to Fluoridate, and Kids Are Getting Cavities

Kid Cavity

Finizio / Flickr

The count of kids with cavities is on the rise in Pottawatomie County, where no fluoride is added to the public water systems.

And pediatric health groups and a local dental association are sounding alarms, the Shawnee News-Star’s Madi Alexander reports:

Dr. Nan Shadid, who has been a dentist in Shawnee for 28 years, said she has noticed a significant increase in the number of children with cavities since Shawnee ceased water fluoridation.

Water in Shawnee has naturally occurring fluoride, “but their concentration does not meet the CDC standard for the prevention of tooth decay,” the paper reports. The health groups have asked the city to resume fluoridation, which was stopped in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina disrupted operations at its fluoride supplier.

But there’s a reason Shawnee hasn’t resumed fluoridation: It can’t afford it anymore.

From the News-Star:

Shawnee never resumed water fluoridation and no longer has the capability to do so, [said City Manager Brian McDougal]. Resuming fluoridation would require the city to build a new facility and system, which could cost between $150,000 and $200,000.

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  • Fluoridation Ineffective and Harmful, studies show

    More than 4,500 professionals (including 343 dentists and 538 MD’s) urge that fluoridation be stopped because fluoridation is ineffective and harmful. See statement: http://www.fluoridealert.org/researchers/professionals-statement/text/

    Fluoridation is an “unacceptable risk,” says Public Health Professor Niyi Awofeso (Public Health Ethics, August 2012). He writes, “There is insufficient ethical justification for artificial water fluoridation” because no evidence supports the assertion that artificial fluoridation reduces social disparities in cavity incidence, fluoridation’s effectiveness is questionable, potential adverse effects of fluoride, such as hypothyroidism and bone fractures, have been reported in scholarly journals and fluoridation chemicals are contaminated with lead, arsenic and mercury.

    In 2006, a National Research Council expert panel published a fluoride report which revealed that fluoride, even at low doses added to water supplies, can be especially harmful to the thyroid gland, kidney patients, babies, seniors and people who drink
    high amounts of water. They also revealed critical fluoride safety
    studies have never been done and studies linking fluoride to cancer and lower
    IQ are plausible.

    Thirty-seven human studies now link fluoride to lowered IQ, some at levels considered safe in the US. See: http://www.fluoridealert.org/articles/iq-facts/

    After 68 years of water fluoridation, the Centers for Disease Control reports that up to 60% of 12-15 year-olds are affected with fluoride overdose
    symptoms – dental fluorosis, white spotted, yellow, brown and/or pitted teeth. Yet, the CDC says More young kids face cavity crisis in US

    Tooth decay crises are occurring in all fluoridated cities and states because Americans can’t afford dental care. New dental professionals are being created. New dental schools opened, private dentists’ hired more staff, dental expenditures
    have gone up substantially dentists and tooth decay has become big
    business. Fluoridated toothpaste, alone is a multi-billion dollar international market.

    Emergency rooms are flooded with people in dental pain, costing taxpayers millions of dollars, because 80% of dentists refuse Medicaid patients, 130 million Americans don’t have dental insurance. Many of those with insurance can’t afford dentistry’s
    high out-of-pocket costs. No American is or ever was fluoride-deficient. Too
    many are dentist-deficient.

    The CDC reports that 225 less communities adjusted for fluoride between 2006 and 2008. About 100 US and Canadian communities rejected fluoridation since 2008; many more in 2012 and 2013

    Recently, both Wichita, Kansas and Portland, Oregon rejected fluoridation 60% to 40%. Hamilton, NZ, councilors voted 7-1 to stop 50 years of fluoridation after councilors listened to several days of testimony from those for and against fluoridation (June 2013) Hamilton joins 30 other regional NZ that don’t fluoridate.

    One NZ Councillor who voted against fluoridation tells you why here: http://www.marketground.co.nz/video.asp?v=Zcu7XIIZyt4&feature=youtu.be

    Windsor, Ontario, and Cairns, Australia stopped fluoridation this year. Windsor’s Mayor, who has a chemistry background,
    explains why he voted with the majority to stop 51 years of water fluoridation
    in this radio interview. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=gJcjYl_2MQY

    Most of Western Europe and major world cities do not fluoridate
    the water. Yet tooth decay rates are similar.

    Fluoride’s adverse health effects: http://www.FluorideAction.Net/issues/health

  • Facebook User

    99.7% fluoridated Kentucky continues to have a “very high dental caries experience” whereas fluoride free Netherlands has a “VERY low dental caries experience”. Both from studies paid for by the National Institutes of Health.

    Fluoride is unethical forced medication, bio-accumulative, ineffective at best and harmful to humans.

    My daughter lived with brown streaks on her teeth all through elementary and high school due to the fluoridated water in the town where we lived. Some children are more susceptible to fluorosis than others it seems. But the fluoridated water consumption obviously cannot be controlled. You should be able to drink as much water as you want without worry of getting dental fluorosis and brown streaks on your teeth.

    The forced fluoride pushers say brown teeth are “just cosmetic”. Try telling a 13 year old her brown teeth are “just cosmetic”. Then tell me how great fluoride is when you have to spend $2500.00 to fix brown teeth and she still got 2 cavities.

    Fluoridation doesn’t work and is unethical to force medicate on anyone. No one will come to your rescue when your kids have brown teeth. I can tell you that for sure. You will pay for what the city did to your kids teeth.

  • James Reeves

    Do you wonder why only 5% of the world fluoridates drinking water or why

    the many states with the longest fluoridation record have the worse teeth?

    They have examined the science and the many studies showing that fluoridation is ineffective.

    For example,

    Oklahoma is 73.5% fluoridated with 26.8% complete tooth loss.

    Florida (77.7% fluoridated with 16.7% tooth loss),

    Illinois (98.9% fluoridated with 19.1% tooth loss),

    Kentucky (99.8%, 23.7%),

    Maine (79.6%, 31.9%),

    West Virginia (91.7%, 37.8%),

    etc., etc.

    Compare those to Hawaii, which is only 8.4% fluoridated with only 9.6% complete tooth loss.  It shows just how INEFFECTIVE fluoridation is. 

    You can check the data for any state at the following CDC site:


    • Alison McKellar

      Agree with you completely but be careful with the way you look at that data. For example, in Maine, that is the percentage of public water systems that are fluoridated, but only 50% of the state has public water (the rest are wells). However, you are right. Even when you adjust all of that data… no evidence at the state level that the number of people drinking fluoridated water has anything to do with the number of people who have good or bad teeth. Check out this if you haven’t already seen it… Thiessen does an awesome job analyzing the data. http://www.asa3.org/ASA/meetings/georgefox2008/papers/ASA2008Thiessen.pdf

      • James Reeves

        Thank you for the information on Maine and for the site by Dr. Thiessen, an experienced Ph.D. scientist.
        I hope everyone takes a few minutes to check this well presented information.

  • The head toxicologist of the EPA called
    for more research on fluoride.


    FLUORIDEGATE An American Tragedy:

    How did the EPA respond?

    They committed FORGERY – fabricated

    shredding documents

    They committed OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE –

    They conspired to cover-up the call for
    more research by terminating the senior toxicologist of the EPA

    He took the EPA to court and won on all
    counts – except one, that he used the wrong pronoun. He used the word “we’d” when referring to
    EPA’s activities instead of “EPA”

    The senior toxicologist then had to sue
    the EPA for HARASSMENT – and won the case.

  • Billy Budd

    Shawnee should insist that the rate of operations for terrible cavities in preschoolers is followed. The state Medicaid program should have that data.

    What the local dentists and physicians are noticing is the cessation of fluoride’s effect on this aspect of cavity disease. The huge Louisiana study showed that 2/3rds of the operations which include root canals and stainless steel crown are prevented in these young children.

    The new data from the Delta Dental Insurance company shows the life-time cost of a molar cavity acquired at age 10 is over $6,000. The lifetime cost of fluoridation is about $70. In 2003 Delta Dental said the lifetime cost was $2,100 which adjusted for inflation is about $2,600.

    Modern dentistry has become more complex and more expensive. Fluoridation doesn’t have to work much to have big payoffs. The CDC is planning repeating the older study which showed a $38 return on investment. We can be certain that this number will be larger consistent with the new data from Delta Dental.

    Ceasing water fluoridation is a very short sighted and mistaken cost cutting decision. Citizens and professionals should gather signatures for an initiative to reverse this decision, a decision which will harm the current children’s entire lifetime.

    • david

      you should look at what poison your giving your children for good teeth or should they just brush more. see the side effects of fluoride is it worth it.

  • Bill Maas

    Can the people of Shawnee afford to pay for fillings, but not fluoridation? And who would rather have cavities and fillings, rather than sound teeth, even if fillings were free? Studies in TX and NY have confirmed that Medicaid pays $24 more for fillings for kids who do not have fluoridated water than those who do. We know that the rate of new tooth decay continues at about the same rate throughout the lifespan, indicating that on average Shawnee residents with teeth have dental expenses $24 higher each year than if they had fluoridated water. Only half may go to a dentist in any given year. Still, that suggests that the 31,000 residents of Shawnee would save (31,000 x $24 x 50%) = $372,000 each year, year after year if they had fluoridated. That would more than cover the investment in fluoridation equipment, and save even more in future years when the only expense to the city will be the cost of the fluoride additive. Fluoridation is not a panacea. It doesn’t prevent all cavities. But, it prevents many cavities, it does so safely, and is available to everyone in the community.

    • david

      so feed them poison for clean teeth that is a great idea.

  • Lauren Schroeder

    Fluoridation saves money. Research shows that every $1 invested in water fluoridation produces savings of $38. This money is saved by families and taxpayers because people avoid paying the cost for more fillings and other dental treatments. At a time when more than 100 million Americans lack dental insurance, fluoridation offers and easy, inexpensive preventative strategy that everyone benefits from simply by turning on their tap.

    • david

      do some research you dumb ass it is a poison that takes a long time to get out of your system da read a learn a little before you comment

  • Facebook User

    If there was a magic chemical suddenly discovered that made you live to be 1000 years old, would we put that in the water because someone thinks it would be good for EVERYONE? Would we force everyone to be 1000 years old against their will? Of course not.

    Fluoridation is unethical and idiotic. Even IF there was a benefit, which there isn’t, it’s not O.K. to force it on everyone through the water.

    I happen to think everyone should ingest EFAs., essential fatty acids, you sure won’t see me trying to force them on everyone. They ARE essential to life, which is why they are called ESSENTIAL fatty acids. But, we don’t force them on people through the water.

  • James Reeves



    In addition to being ineffective for teeth and dangerous to health, fluorde is extremely wasteful of tax money. See http://www.fluoridealert.org for the truth on this.

    All Civil Engineers and Water Managers know that people drink only 1/2% of the water they use, so for every $1000 of fluoride chemical added to water, $995 is directly wasted down the drain in toilets, showers, dishwashers, etc., $5 is consumed in water by the people, and less than $0.50 (fifty cents) isconsumed by children, the target group for this outdated practice.

    That would be comparable to buying one gallon of milk, using six-and-one-half drops of it, and pouring the rest of the gallon in the sink.

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