Portland, Ore., on brink of fluoridation

The City Council of Portland, Ore., is expected to vote Wednesday to fluoridate that community’s water. If so, that will end Portland’s status as the largest city in the U.S. lacking naturally occurring fluoride not to have embraced fluoridation of its water system. (San Jose, Calif., decided to fluoridate late last year, but hasn’t implemented fluoridation yet.) According to the American Dental Association, the other unfluoridated cities larger than Wichita are Albuquerque, Tucson and Fresno, Calif. Wichita’s question will go to voters on Nov. 6. “It’s about health equity, it’s about social justice,” Portland Mayor Sam Adams told the New York Times. “Fluoride is means to an end. I hope that folks, whether they agree with me or not, understand that my intentions are to help those Portlanders that have no voice in this process.” The Oregonian reported that Multnomah County’s five public dental health clinics see dozens of patients a day whose oral health would be helped by fluoridated water, and recounted how a dental hygienist took one look into the cavity-free mouth of a 9-year-old and asked, “You don’t live in Portland, do you?” (She lived nearby, in fluoridated Beaverton.)