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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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Day two of David Pecker testimony wraps in NY Trump trial; Supreme Court hears arguments on Idaho's near-total abortion ban; ND sees a flurry of campaigning among Native candidates; and NH lags behind other states in restricting firearms at polling sites.

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The Senate moves forward with a foreign aid package. A North Carolina judge overturns an aged law penalizing released felons. And child protection groups call a Texas immigration policy traumatic for kids.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

Kentucky dentists expect more child tooth decay if "opt out" fluoride bill passes

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Monday, March 4, 2024   

A bill moving through the Kentucky Legislature would make fluoride treatment in drinking water optional for local municipalities.

House Bill 141 would remove a mandate that currently requires Kentucky towns with three thousand or more residents to add fluoride to their drinking water.

Health advocacy groups and even some dental insurers have voiced opposition to the legislation.

Whitney Dietz is a dentist with practices in Davis and McCracken counties. She said she expects tooth-decay rates to rise tremendously, particularly among children, if the bill becomes law.

"We see maybe three cavity events per child if there's no fluoride," said Dietz. "It's about eight cavity events per child, in one study. So, when I heard that our state government was considering making this optional, I was flabbergasted. I was absolutely shocked."

The bill's supporters, including co-sponsor state Rep. William Lawrence - R-Maysville - have called fluoride, quote, "forced medication."

They argue the legislation aims to give local governments the ability to choose whether or not to fluoridate the water supply.

Dietz said, post-pandemic, the number of pediatric dental providers in the state has dwindled - and challenges in dental health providers' ability to participate in Medicaid and Medicare have worsened the problem.

She said she regularly reviews charts for hundreds of kids doing volunteer work in communities and schools.

"I'm seeing kids with bombed-out non-restorable permanent molars," said Dietz, "kids that are in pain, kids that have abscesses."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, community water fluoridation has saved states an estimated $6.5 billion a year by reducing dental treatment costs - including tooth restorations and extractions, and indirect economic losses, such as loss of worker productivity.




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