Dr. Joyce Kasunich is a dentist, so she sees first hand the benefit that fluoride can provide, especially for children.
"I think fluoride is a great protection for our teeth, to help strengthen our enamel," she said.
Community water fluoridation is supported by major health and science organizations across the country, including the American Dental Association, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC states that drinking fluoridated water keeps teeth strong and reduces cavities by about 25 percent in children and adults. Despite that, only 17 states have laws in place regarding fluoridation and Pennsylvania is not one of them. In fact, lawmakers in PA have introduced more than a dozen bills over the last 30 years, with none of them passing.
"The state is reluctant to pass a mandate, passing it off to the parameters of the local water authority and the local communities are saying we aren't doing it unless the state passes a state-wide mandate," said Camille Kostelac-Cherry from the PA Dental Association. She said there are several reasons for what she calls a never ending game of hot potato, and one of them is politics.
"We've actually had legislators in our state legislature in the past that owned water companies and who were very opposed to it, and convinced colleagues to vote against a state-wide mandate," she said. She also believes that many lawmakers feel pressure from a vocal minority of constiuents against fluoride.
One of those critics is holistic health coach, Amanda Goodwin.
"It's a poison that's destroying our endocrine system and messing up our thyroid," she said.
Amanda believes fluoride is a toxin. She said if you really wanted it, you could find it other ways. Forcing it on people though, in their water supply, is not okay.
Camille, however, disagrees and said that there is science and evidence to prove the benefit of water fluoridation.
She also said that if fluoride is added now, it will show a huge benefit and longterm financial savings to the state.
"Dental disease particularly in children is one of the top health concerns in pennsylvania," Kostelac-Cherry said.
Dr. Kasunich said she would much rather prevent a disease than try to treat a disease.
If you are interested in learning more about the fluoride debate, here are links to find more information about both sides of the argument.