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July 11, 2012
WICHITA Members of the Wichitans for Healthy Teeth coalition have scheduled an event Thursday to formally announce their campaign to fluoridate Wichita's water.
The coalition describes itself as a group of "500 physicians, pediatricians, dentists and individuals and nearly 50 local organizations advocating for water fluoridation."
Adding fluoride to a community's water system has been shown to reduce tooth decay. Of the 50 largest U.S. cities, 44 add fluoride to the public water supply. Wichita is among the six that do not.
In 1999, the Sedgwick County Board of Health passed a proposal to fluoridate Wichita's water. However, then-Mayor Bob Knight did not put the proposal on the agenda, saying it was too controversial and divisive. Among the concerns cited by opponents of water fluoridation is that overexposure to fluoride in children can lead to fluorosis, a condition that permanently stains teeth.
Nationwide, about 74 percent of people have access to publicly fluoridated water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Kansas, the rate is 65 percent.
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