LETTER: Port Angeles’ fluoridation decision will have impact far into future

I directly witnessed the slow, steady improvement in the teeth of my patients since water fluoridation began.

Over the past year, we heard, through public testimony and letters to Peninsula Voices, from numerous health care professionals who support continued fluoridation of our town’s water, including dentists, oral surgeons, dental hygienists and assistants, pediatricians, family physicians, nurse practitioners, oncologists, physician assistants, obstetrician/gynecologists, public health officers, urologists, nurse-midwives, internists, ER doctors, nurses and pharmacists.

All currently practice or are retired from years of work in Port Angeles.

All spoke up about the importance of continuing water fluoridation for the health of our most vulnerable citizens.

Yet recently, the City Council voted to ignore their combined experience and evidence-based science and end this important public health measure.

When I began delivering babies here in 1999, I could not believe how poor some of my patients’ oral health was compared to where I had previously practiced (Washington, D.C.; Baltimore; and Virginia).

This is of particular concern due to links with poor pregnancy outcomes and oral health.

I directly witnessed the slow, steady improvement in the teeth of my patients since water fluoridation began.

I will be retired by the time the full effects of this recent decision show up once again in our childbearing women, and likely Port Angeles Mayor Patrick Downie will be retired, too.

However, that does not give us the right to abandon the citizens of Port Angeles by failing to advocate for their health.

We need this simple, safe, cost-effective public health measure reinstated immediately if we hope to achieve good health outcomes in our community.

Deborah Bopp,

Port Angeles

Bopp is certified nurse midwife at Olympic Medical Center.

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