The Portland region has a dental decay crisis that is threatening our children’s health and educational success. We see this as a crucial health equity issue facing Portland today. While one in five children in Oregon suffer from rampant decay, we know that in communities of color, immigrants and refugees, the suffering is worse. For too long there has been inaction due to fear and misinformation – so today we are asking for your support on this important health equity issue. We are the last major city in the U.S. without fluoridated water, and low-income people and communities of color are paying the biggest price.
Children from more affluent families can partly make up for it by using fluoride toothpaste twice a day, taking fluoride tablets, and seeing the dentist regularly. Unfortunately, many children in our community don’t have those options. This is a matter of equity - racial and economic equity. Fluoridated water will improve everyone’s health.
For a city that values equity and justice, we can no longer turn our backs on this critical health issue. Fluoridated water is the right answer now to improve dental health for everyone, regardless of race, national origin, ethnicity or income.
The science is clear – water fluoridation is safe, effective, and affordable.
It’s time to bring water fluoridation to Portland. Please join us in what we see as the single most important action we can take in decreasing dental health disparities in our region. We urge you, Commissioner Amanda Fritz, and the full city council, to vote in favor of water fluoridation and protect our children and communities from needless tooth decay. We oppose a voter referral, as an unnecessary and expensive pathway, and believe this is the time for all our elected officials to join us to improve the health of all our communities.
We join the following organizations from communities of color that have joined the Everyone Deserves Healthy Teeth Coalition [see the full list at http://everyonedeserveshealthyteeth.org/] to improve the health equity of all children and families through water fluoridation:
African Women’s Coalition
Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO)
Center for Intercultural Organizing
Chinese American Citizen’s Alliance - Portland Lodge
Coalition of Communities of Color
Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA)
OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon
Oregon Latino Agenda for Action
Oregon Latino Health Coalition
Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Oregon
Urban League of Portland