Opinion: Colton man makes five point plan to ‘Keep Potsdam Smiling’
Tuesday, September 18, 2018 - 8:25 am

To the Editor:

A new plan called "Keep Potsdam Smiling" is a viable solution to replace the antiquated model of municipal water fluoridation.

Five key points:

• #1 Identification: Identify disadvantaged children and their families who don't have access to prevent tooth decay by using the same process as the current free school lunch program does. This can extend the benefits to the entire town, not just the village.

• #2 Distribution: Make freely available: toothpaste with fluoride (topical use), and fluoridated water and/or tablets (internal use) that the American Dental Association provides a standard dosing schedule for. This ensures those qualifying children/families who “choose”, will actually have “clear and direct access” to a “variety” of approved dental health items with a level of accountability that currently doesn’t exist: flushing fluoridated water down the drain is literally money down the drain with no gain.

• #3 Bonus: Provide a toothbrush along with a brief tutorial of best practices for brushing, to really bring home the importance of dental health to disadvantaged families. Also consider: the County is planning a fluoride varnish program and Potsdam could lead this initiative, adding to the list of benefits available to citizens who desire them.

• #4 Implementation: Staff it as a pilot program by allowing proactive volunteers willing to share all the benefits of fluoride with these families. This educates and promotes community involvement from enthusiastic supporters, while being sensitive to the needs of those who don’t want it.

Dental and health professionals working together, likely with donations from dental suppliers, can help make it a very successful campaign and reap the marvelous PR, thus promoting their cause, their business and their special interest in oral health and how they’ve used this to help their local community. As a sound model, it should easily be able to stand on its own and garner support, without the need to be artificially propped up like the current model.

• #5 Adoption: Potsdam can champion a win-win for all with adoption of this viable solution which supports multiple viewpoints to achieve each side’s goals, and helps to solve a problem rather than let it divide. Please consider this plan which is a reflection of everyone’s thoughtful concerns and a solution that addresses them in a very positive way. Thank you!

For additional information and discussion, please visit the "Clean Water Potsdam" group on Facebook.

Jerry Bartlett