Your recent article on the board of health’s vote on community water fluoridation has a problematic title. The outcry is not over a safe, effective public health measure with seven decades of rigorous peer-reviewed science supporting its use. The outcry is over a shrill minority whose misinformed personal convictions trump their understanding of reason and evidence.

Opposition to fluoride is fear-mongering pseudoscience confined to opaque websites, while respected American medical, dental, governmental and public safety organizations are united in its advocacy — Division of Oral Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Community Water Fluoridation, Atlanta, Ga., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Edgartown has a long-overdue opportunity for a maximally cost-effective improvement in the quality of life of its most vulnerable residents, and should embrace it. Tooth decay is the most prevalent chronic childhood disease in the U.S., five times more common than asthma. Forty two per cent of children ages 2 to 11 have had cavities in baby teeth; 21 per cent of those ages 6 to 11 have had cavities in permanent teeth. Yet the pain, missed school days, costs, lifelong implications and even more medically serious abscesses and complications are largely preventable. We have worked in populations with access to community fluoride, and we have worked in those without. Children in regions without optimal fluoride suffer needlessly from poorer oral health. Edgartown, where we have long-standing family roots, does not need to be one of those places any more.

Drs. Andrew Danberg-Ficarelli and John Ficarelli
Edgartown and Newton