FLUORIDE DATE LECTURE #55 - IT'S OFFICIAL: LOW-INCOME KIDS IN FLUORIDATED AUSTIN HAVE POOR DENTAL HEALTH
City Milks St. David's Dental Van for Photo-Op but Doesn't Contribute
Good afternoon, Mayor and councilmembers. Throughout our four years of speaking at City Hall against water fluoridation, one element has been conspicuously absent: the low income children in whose name the practice is implemented. Theoretically, the city fluoridates to provide “social equity” to economically disadvantaged children approximately 5 to 11 years of age— the period when the permanent teeth are coming in
I thought of this recently when I happened to discover—from the U.S. Census Bureau’s website—that over 20% of Austinites live below the poverty line today. That’s 162,000 people. This group doesn’t have much of a political voice. I can’t bring their kids here. But I can count them—again, from the Census Bureau’s 2010 Austin fact sheets. Within the age group in question: ages 5-11, there are 11,842 boys and 8,669 girls, making a total of 20,500 elementary school aged children. The City’s solution to their dental problems is to annually throw a half million dollars’ worth of toxic fluorosilicic acid into the community water supply, for them and everybody else to drink. That discharges all your obligation to them according to the CDC, whose marching orders you follow.
Are these kids getting any real dental care? We know 80% of dentists don’t accept Medicaid. We also know that you, the City Council, have no idea what—if anything— the city spends on direct dental services for our neediest children, because you’ve admitted it. Outside entities, it would seem, have taken over that responsibility.
The St. David’s Foundation Dental Program is one. They operate a fleet of mobile dental offices that rotate among AISD’s 50 Title 1 elementary schools, providing free dental care. This includes fillings, X-rays, root canals, extractions and emergency care, plus preventive measures like cleanings, sealants, and oral hygiene education. In school year 2009-10, they saw nearly 6,000 patients, most from Austin schools, and provided about $4.2 million in services.
80% of the second graders St. David’s personnel screened that year had identifiable oral problems. Yet those children grew up drinking fluoridated water. It doesn’t work. The city of Austin spent a half million dollars on fluoridation and got nothing. Half a million would buy and stock one of those dental vans. Or support the operation of one for a year. It’s time to put the taxpayers’ money to better use.