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Local club pushes putting fluoride back in water

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By SAM HATCHER and ZACK OWENSBY The Wilson Post

A group of young women, most of whom have school-aged children or younger children at home, is mounting a campaign and beginning to ask questions about why the City of Lebanon is not putting fluoride in its water system.

Tiffany Miller was the first to sound the alarm when she learned just last week that the city no longer puts fluoride in its water supply.

Since her discovery, she notified fellow members of the Lebanon Junior Women’s Club and at the club’s regular scheduled meeting yesterday a course of action was set.

Katie Moscardelli, club president, said members discussed their concerns about not having fluoride in the city’s water supply and what action the club may take to make the public better aware of the issue and what club members may do to encourage local government to rethink its policy about including the tooth decay-fighting agent in its water system.

Miller said she had spoken with several individuals about the fact that fluoride is not in the city’s water supply and has generally received a response of “surprise” from most.

According to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, community water fluoridation is an effective, safe and inexpensive way to prevent tooth decay.

“Fluoridation benefits Americans of all ages and socioeconomic status. Children and adults who are at low risk of dental decay can stay cavity-free through frequent exposure to small amounts of fluoride. This is best gained by drinking fluoridated water and using a fluoride toothpaste twice daily,” the professional group recommends on its website.

While fluoridation in the water system is a health issue, it is also a matter others have noted that may be considered a “quality of life” issue.

Lebanon doesn’t put fluoride in its water supply but other local utilities do including Gladeville and West Wilson Utility Districts. LaGuardo Utility District purchases its water as is from Lebanon and West Wilson.

And outside of Lebanon, the cities of Murfreesboro and Gallatin plus a number of other Middle Tennessee towns do include fluoride in their drinking water.

Frequently the quality of schools, the number of parks and playgrounds, and the accessibility to good health care are mentioned as important factors when decisions are being made with regard to new industry or business locating in a particular area or for individuals considering a relocation move. Some believe that list should also include whether or not the local community maintains a fluorinated water supply which they say speaks volumes about the “quality of life” offered in the community.Local dentists all concur that water fluoridation is important to Lebanon residents, especially children. Of several dentists contacted for this article, all agreed that consuming fluoride is as important to dental health as isbrushing your teeth and limiting sugar intake in preventing tooth decay.

A panel of concerned citizens conferred on this matter in the summer of 2009. The Wilson County Health Council is made up of Wilson County Schools and Lebanon Special School District health employees, members of the Tennessee Department of Health, local physicians, emergency administration and several members of the community. They met to determine when and why fluoridation stopped in Lebanon.

Staff Writer Zack Owensby may be contacted at zowensby@wilsonpost.com.CEO Sam Hatcher may be contacted at shatcher@wilsonpost.com.

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