One of the great public health achievements 

Re: Fluoridation of drinking water

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies fluoridation of drinking water as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. The American Public Health Association promotes water fluoridation as the foundation for better oral health. Even in today’s environment, with the increasing availability of fluoride-containing products such as toothpastes and mouth rinses, community water fluoridation remains the most equitable and cost-effective method of delivering fluoride to all members of most communities, regardless of age, educational attainment or income level.

Fluoride is the ionic form of the element fluorine, an element abundant in the earth’s crust. As a result, fluoride is a naturally occurring component of all water sources in varying concentrations. Fluoride protects teeth in two ways — systemically and topically. Systemic fluoride sources are ingested, sources include fluoridated water, dietary fluoride supplements and fluoride in foods and beverages. Systemic fluoride present during tooth development becomes incorporated into the tooth structure, resulting in fortified enamel more resistant to decay.

Topical fluorides are those applied on the tooth and provide local protection on the surface. Topical fluoride not only prevents demineralization and promotes remineralization in the enamel, it also inhibits the activity of cavity-causing bacteria. Fluoride’s topical effects explain why both adults and children benefit from fluoride exposure. Sources of topical fluoride include toothpastes, mouth rinses, professional dental products and saliva. Saliva is an important carrier of topical fluoride.

While saliva secreted from the ducts contains a low level of fluoride not likely to have decay-preventing effects, drinking fluoridated water can greatly increase saliva’s fluoride concentration. Therefore, drinking fluoridated water provides both systemic and topical protection, resulting in maximum reduction in tooth decay.

I urge you to discuss this issue with your dental professional and to refer only to scientific evidence based research, not “Google”-based research.

Janis McClelland

Registered Dental Hygienist


Problem solvers

Re: Fluoridation of water

Americans are problem solvers. And we use reason to solve them. In 2015, the Sheridan City Council ordered the addition of fluoride to the water system. That created a problem.

Fluoride may be the most divisive issue we’ve had since we voted to reject it in the 1950s.

Why the controversy? Because prior to the council’s order, using fluoride was a personal choice, not a requirement. But now, fluoride enters 100 percent of our homes, businesses and public drinking fountains. There’s no way to “opt out.” If you’re drinking SAWS water, you’re drinking fluoride.

That single decision removed everyone’s right to decide for themselves: fluoride or not. Using fluoride became a government mandate, instead of a personal decision. And that’s the problem.

It’s not a “fluoride” issue, it’s a “freedom” issue. It violates our right to make our own decisions on what enters our bodies and homes.

We create government to defend our rights, not violate them.

It’s a public policy issue and it can only be resolved by making the correct public policy decision, based on the foundational American principles of individual liberty and limited government. We cannot make the decision based on emotion, popular opinion or “what’s good for us.” Those are the fatal conceits of authoritarian, central government that leads to tyranny.

Let’s base our decision on principle. Deciding what enters our homes and our bodies is a fundamental human right. Our decision-making authority was taken from us by the Sheridan City Council. Our creator-endowed and constitutionally-protected rights must be restored.

The city council’s policy decision caused the problem, and only the council can fix it. And they can only do so by restoring our natural right to self-determination and returning to legitimate, limited government.

We may never reach consensus on fluoride itself, but we should all be able to agree that each of us has the right to determine what we ingest. We should all be able to agree on the principles of self-ownership, personal autonomy and individual liberty. Our personal views on fluoride should be secondary to our desire for harmony, good governance and the need to preserve freedom.

Here’s a question to ponder. If drinking fluoride is such a good idea, why is it mandatory?

Dennis Fox



Adding taxes unwise

Re: Legislators’ recent session

Our Wyoming legislative session has ended and we’re indebted to those legislators who continued to act in the best interests of their constituents. Unfortunately, however, not all of them did.

It’s regrettable how some politicians who have been elected to represent the voters in their districts have become “politician transformers” after becoming elected to office. These politicians strangely lose their focus from acting in the best interests of their constituents, and instead, become agents for funding the state government. Even worse, many of these “politician transformers” become lobbyists for special interest groups rather than pursuing the primary interests of their constituents. It’s almost as though these politicians have crossed some sort of “political time warp,” ignoring their constituents while transforming themselves into “funding agents” for our state government, as well as caring for their special-interest allies.

Our state is desperate to close its budget deficit by finding ways to impose more taxes, so why should we be surprised it’s seeking more tax revenue from any source possible? All that’s required now is to get our representatives to impose an income tax on large out-of-state corporations and pretend that we citizens are not paying the new tax. It reminds me of what Forrest Gump’s mother told her son, “Stupid is as stupid does!” Sadly, some of our politicians, apparently indifferent to the economic consequences on our state’s future welfare, are considering a state income tax. 

An adoption of a state income tax on corporations such as Walmart is just the beginning of a downward spiral, which our 16th Amendment has taught us well. In 1913 the federal income tax rate was only 1 percent, and was only imposed on incomes over $3,000 at that time.

As a consequence, most people did not pay an income tax back then. But, four years later during World War I the top federal income tax rate was 77 percent. Will Rogers put it well, “The difference between death and taxes is death doesn’t get worse every time a legislature meets.”

It’s an economic delusion to believe a state income tax imposed on Walmart will not be paid by shoppers, but again, that tax will only be a beginning. Once an income tax is imposed on somebody it’s inevitable it will later be imposed on everybody. If our state has a budget deficit today, can you imagine it won’t have a greater finance problem arise tomorrow? And, when it does the political solution is always to expand the incidence and rate of future taxes upon us. 

Finally, one of Wyoming’s greatest economic advantages for attracting individuals and businesses to our state has been the absence of a state income tax. Those “politician transformers” in our legislature, responding first to the interests of our state government and its special interests, rather than to their constituents, are inviting the future destruction of our competitive state tax advantage which we now enjoy. This is a short-sighted and unwise choice!

Bob Anderson

Big Horn