Portland City Council Unanimously Votes to Fluoridate Water!

Over the past year and half, the Oregon Dental Association, as a member of the Everyone Deserves Health Teeth Coalition, has been working on a new effort to fluoridate the Bull Run water system. The Bull Run system serves about 900,000 people, or almost one-fourth of Oregon’s population. More than 74 percent of the United States is served by optimally fluoridated community water supplies to protect dental health – and Portlanders will soon join them.

Last week, after a colorful public hearing on September 6th, the City Council unanimously voted in favor of fluoridation. Portland is no longer the largest city in the U.S. that has yet to approve fluoridation to combat tooth decay. The ordinance calls for the city water to be fluoridated by March 2014.

Oregon Dental Association has long been an advocate of community water fluoridation and we were not alone in the fight this time. As a founding member of the Everyone Deserves Healthy Teeth Coalition,  made up of dental and medical professionals, children’s advocates, business leaders, and Portland citizens, we called on the Portland City Council to fluoridate Portland’s water as a safe, effective and affordable way to increase the oral health of our community.

One in three Oregon children has untreated cavities, jeopardizing their health and educational success. Financially, dental decay accounts for 30 percent of all health care costs for children. Dental–related emergency room visits by Oregon’s Medicaid enrollees jumped 31 percent in the past few years, causing a tremendous increase on healthcare costs.

Fluoridating Portland’s water is affordable and will save money. Initial start-up costs are estimated to be about $5 per person with an annual cost of $0.61 per person, based on average water use.That is less expensive than providing fluoride treatments in dental offices and schools. The return is very high: every $1 invested in fluoridation saves over $30 in decreased treatment costs for fillings and more serious dental work. Cheers to healthier teeth!

Visit www.everyonedeserveshealthyteeth.org to learn more.

William E. Zepp, CAE, is the Executive Director of the Oregon Dental Association. Bill previously served as Executive Director of both the Virginia and Montana Dental Associations and has been involved in association management for twenty five years. Bill is also active with the American Society of Association Executives, serving as a past chair of the Small Staff Associations Committee. He has given presentations on non-dues revenue and management at several ASAE Annual Sessions. He is a past-president of the Oregon Society of Association Management.




African American Health Coalition

African Partnership for Health

African Women’s Coalition

American Medical Student Association, OHSU Chapter

Albina Head Start

Asian Health & Service Center

Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO)

Capitol Dental Care


Center for Intercultural Organizing

Central City Concern

Children First for Oregon

Coalition of Communities of Color

Coalition of Community Health Clinics

Component Dental Societies

Dental Foundation of Oregon

Familias en Acción

Friends of Creston Children‘s Dental Clinic

Health Share of Oregon (Tri-County CCO)

Kaiser Permanente Northwest

Knowledge Universe

Latino Network

Legacy Health

Lutheran Community Services Northwest

Native American Youth Association (NAYA)

Northwest Health Foundation

Medical Teams International

OEA Choice Trust

OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon

Oral Health Outreach

Oregon Academy of Family Physicians

Oregon Community Foundation

Oregon Dental Association

Oregon Dental Hygienists’ Association

Oregon Dental Services Companies

Oregon Head Start

Oregon Health & Science University

Oregon Latino Health Coalition

Oregon Latino Agenda for Action

Oregon Medical Association

Oregon Nurses Association

Oregon Oral Health Coalition

Oregon Pediatric Society

Oregon Primary Care Association

Oregon Public Health Association

Oregon Public Health Institute

Oregon School Nurses Association

Oregon School-Based Health Care Network

Pew Center on the States

Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Oregon

Physicians for a National Health Program, OHSU Chapter

Portland African American Leadership Forum

Providence Health & Services – Oregon


Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon

SEIU Local 49

Urban League

Upstream Public Health

Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center

Willamette Dental

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.