OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- A battle brewing in the Sunflower State over fluoride in the public water supply has dentists speaking out. They say the Kansas bill spreads misinformation on the use of fluoride in water.
One pediatric dentist called fluoride a difference-maker in preventing children from losing their teeth to decay. Dentists say research on the safety of fluoride is being distorted.
A Republican state representative from Wichita has introduced a bill that would require municipalities that add fluoride to water to notify citizens that: "The latest science confirms that ingested fluoride lowers the IQ in children."
Wichita is the largest metropolitan area in the nation that does not add fluoride to its water supply.
Oral health advocates, including Pediatric Dentist Glenn Hemberger, are pushing back.
They say the benefits of fluoride in fighting tooth loss can't be quantified, and fluoride has long been determined to be safe.
"It's always hard to counter negative publicity because that is a scare tactic," Hemberger said. "All we can say is that it has never been proven with any credible science to be proven that it's harmful to health."
A Harvard University study cites a relationship between slower brain development and increased levels of fluoride in water. That research focused on children in China, which has a high natural level of fluoride in the water there.
Opponents of fluoride claim eliminating it from the public water supply has the potential to save more lives than outlawing abortion would.
Nearly three out of four Americans live in communities that add fluoride to the water.
The dental association says the bottom line is fluoride lowers tooth decay. That's a proven fact.