Winning New Fluoridation Battles
Myron Allukian Jr. DDS MPH
June 28, 2013
Every newborn in our State should have the best oral health possible. Unfortunately that is not true for over 2 ½ million Massachusetts residents who live in non-fluoridated communities. For the 4 million residents living in 140 fluoridated communities in Massachusetts, fluoridation is still being challenged. In the last several months the fluoridated communities of Duxbury, Lincoln, Long Meadow and Templeton, fluoridation had been challenged at their Town Meetings.
Templeton has been fluoridated for 62 years. See the Table below.
Fortunately, with a lot of community education about the safety and benefits of fluoridation, fluoridation was successfully defended and these four communities continue to fluoridate.
This would not have been accomplished without the dedication and hard work of the local oral health and health professionals, especially Amy Rusinof RDH in Duxbury, Kathy M. Lituri RDH, MPH in Lincoln and E. Jane Crocker RDH in Templeton. Town meeting testimony by dentists, physicians, nurses and community leaders was also very helpful in addition to support from state and national organizations.
In Lincoln, two days before the Town Meeting vote, there was a half page article in the town newspaper written by a Harvard Medical School professor against fluoridation that was filled with misinformation. Fortunately. the next day, a letter was received signed by the Deans of Harvard Medical and Dental Schools and then the School of Public Health, stating that fluoridation is an effective and safe public health measure for people of all ages. (A copy of this letter is available on the BOHMAC web site)
For Templeton this was the 3rd year in a row that fluoridation was challenged by anti-fluoridationists with 3 warrants at this year’s Town Meeting. All three were defeated with the Town Meeting voting to continue fluoridation. E. Jane Crocker RDH , the President Elect of the Massachusetts Dental Hygienists Association not only helped educate the community , but also was voted in as a Board of Health member.
More dentists and hygienists need to become members of their local Boards of Health and we need to continue to educate our patients and community leaders about the safety and effectiveness of community water fluoridation
|Long Meadow||1989||15, 633|
|Total Population||45, 443|
I have been involved with fluoridation for about 47 years. I helped change the fluoridation law in 1968 so that a Board of Health could order fluoridation, rather than having a public vote first. At that time, Massachusetts was only 7% fluoridated, now it’s 63% fluoridated. It took 8 years to get Greater Boston fluoridated, 33 cities and towns, about 2.5 million residents today. During that 8 year period, there were at least 70 bills in the state legislature to stop, weaken or defeat fluoridation. We stopped all of those bills and had 3 fluoridation proposals passed by the Legislature We were instrumental in helping many other Massachusetts communities obtain or keep fluoridation, in addition to challenges in many states such as California, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont, as well as several countries.
Our state is the only state in the country to be recognized for the high quality of its fluoridated communities seven years in a row by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) thanks to the Office of Oral Health, Massachusetts Department of Public Health. In spite of that and we being a dental and public health center, anti-fluoridationists continue to be active and they are taking much better advantage of the internet and social media than the proponents. However they are no longer saying it’s a “communist plot”
1) We must be familiar with the anti arguments and their scare tactics.
2) We must be familiar with the credible studies reaffirming the science on fluoridation .
3) We must continuously educate the public and community leaders about the safety and benefits of fluoridation, it’s a never ending professional responsibility
4) More dentists, dental hygienists and oral health advocates need to become involved in their local communities, and their local Health and School Boards
Myron Allukian the 4th, 10 Lbs, 3 ounces, born June 12, 2013 , is the grandson of Dr. Myron Allukian Jr. Dr. Allukian was deeply involved in retaining fluoridation in Duxbury, Lincoln and Templeton. An internationally recognized public health expert and the former City of Boston Dental Director for 34 years, Dr. Allukian served as Chairman of the U.S. Surgeon General’s Work Group on Fluoridation and Dental Health for the 1990 Prevention Objectives for the Nation, and the Dental Advisory Committees for Healthy People 2000, 2010, and 2020, the National Health Objectives. Board certified in dental public health, Dr. Allukian , a Vietnam veteran is a past president of the American Public Health Association (APHA), the 2nd dentist in 118 years.
Dr. Allukian is currently the Treasurer of the North East Regional Board of Dental Examiners (NERB), the Immediate Past President of the American Association for Community Dental Programs (AACDP), Vice-chair of the Oral Health Work Group, World Federation of Public Health Associations, and the President of the Massachusetts Coalition for Oral Health.
Dr. Allukian has been deeply involved in supporting and promoting fluoridation for over 40 years in Massachusetts, nationally and internationally. A member of the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, he has been called “The Social Conscience of Dentistry”.
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