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Shawnee Can’t Afford To Fluoridate, And Kids Are Getting Cavities

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The count of kids with cavities is on the rise in Pottawatomie County, where no fluoride is added to the public water systems.

And pediatric health groups and a local dental association are sounding alarms, the Shawnee News-Star’s Madi Alexander reports:

Dr. Nan Shadid, who has been a dentist in Shawnee for 28 years, said she has noticed a significant increase in the number of children with cavities since Shawnee ceased water fluoridation.

Water in Shawnee has naturally occurring fluoride, “but their concentration does not meet the CDC standard for the prevention of tooth decay,” the paper reports. The health groups have asked the city to resume fluoridation, which was stopped in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina disrupted operations at its fluoride supplier.

But there’s a reason Shawnee hasn’t resumed fluoridation: It can’t afford it anymore.

From the News-Star:

Shawnee never resumed water fluoridation and no longer has the capability to do so, [said City Manager Brian McDougal]. Resuming fluoridation would require the city to build a new facility and system, which could cost between $150,000 and $200,000.

Joe was a founding reporter for StateImpact Oklahoma (2011-2019) covering the intersection of economic policy, energy and environment, and the residents of the state. He previously served as Managing Editor of Urban Tulsa Weekly, as the Arts & Entertainment Editor at Oklahoma Gazette and worked as a Staff Writer for The Oklahoman. Joe was a weekly arts and entertainment correspondent for KGOU from 2007-2010. He grew up in Bartlesville, Okla. and studied journalism at the University of Central Oklahoma.
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