May 14, 2013

Yes on 26-151: The Safe, Effective Solution To Our Dental Health Crisis

Oregon is in the midst of a dental health crisis that is threatening our children’s health and educational success. One third of Oregon children have tooth decay, and that rate is even higher in communities of color, and in many of our Asian and Pacific Islander communities. The solution is a combination of education, better access to dental care, and fluoridated water.

For many of our communities, particularly immigrants and refugees, our children face rampant dental decay. This has lifelong consequences. Asian and Pacific Islander children face a real disparity, with fewer than 15 percent visiting a dentist by age two. Our children who have cavities and are in pain miss more school days on average, have trouble eating and speaking, and have life-long health issues and costs. Dental decay is expensive for individual families, accounts for 30 percent of all healthcare costs for children, and drives up healthcare costs for everyone. And yet it is 100 percent preventable.

APANO, the Coalition of Communities of Color, the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization, the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Oregon, and over 90 institutions and community groups have joined with every major health care organization in the country, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the National Institutes of Health, in recognizing that fluoridation is safe and effective. It’s the best way to ensure that every child, regardless of race, ethnicity or income, has access to the most important cavity-prevention measure.

Studies have shown that fluoridated water reduces dental decay by 30 percent. In the last 40 years, there have been more than 3,700 studies of its safety and effectiveness. Fluoridated water has been used for more than 65 years by hundreds of millions of Americans, and currently 74% percent of Americans drink it every day. It also saves us money: For every $1 spent fluoridating water, a community can expect to save $38 in dental costs.

The Healthy Kids Healthy Portland Coalition has formed to say that Oregon’s dental health crisis is not acceptable for our children and that fluoridating Portland’s water is the right investment to make now for our children’s health and educational success, for social justice and for economic prosperity. We the undersigned community, health and business leaders urge you to vote yes on May 21st to ballot measure 26-151.

Learn more at

Signatories (affiliations listed for identification purposes only)

  1. Kathy Delumpa Allegri, Allegri Wine & Art Gallery

  2. Marcelo Bonta, Environmental Professionals of Color and the Center for Diversity and the Environment

  3. Ronault LS Catalani, Attorney

  4. Lee Po Cha - IRCO Asian Family Center

  5. Jennifer Chang, MPH

  6. Jeannette Pai-Espinosa

  7. Vui Talitu Dr. Toeutu Faaleava, Samoa Pacific Development Corporation

  8. Anuradha Jairam, Program Coordinator, Family And Community Empowerment (FACE) a program of MESO

  9. Rujuta Goankar, MPH

  10. Dr. Gregory Garcia, MD

  11. Dr. Melissa Goebel, Internal Medicine, Legacy Health Systems

  12. Rujuta Gaonkar, MPH

  13. Dr. Jessica Gregg, Associate Professor of Medicine, OHSU

  14. Helena Huang, NW Health Foundation

  15. Dr. Cyrus Lee, President, Chinese American Citizens Alliance - Portland Lodge

  16. Dr. Junghee Lee, Social Work, Portland State University

  17. Jaime Lim, Asian Reporter Publisher

  18. Jason Lim, Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Oregon

  19. Evelyn Liu, Phoenix Lotus

  20. Julia Markley, Attorney

  21. Dr. Connie Masuoka, Dentist

  22. Kim Nguyen, Interpretation/Translation Services, Portland Public Schools.

  23. Thach Nguyen, Multnomah County Juvenile Court Services.

  24. Dr. Connie Nguyen-Truong, Researcher, OHSU School of Nursing

  25. Suk Rhee, Northwest Health Foundation

  26. Gauri Rajbaidya, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon

  27. Christine Chin Ryan, President, Synergy Consulting, Inc.

  28. Aimee Santos-Lyons, Western States Center

  29. Rev. Joseph Santos-Lyons, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon

  30. Betsy Tam Salter, Multnomah County Democrats

  31. Jeff Selby, former JACL President

  32. June Arima Schumann, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon

  33. Ping Khaw Sutherland

  34. Carol Suzuki, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon

  35. Elizabeth Takahashi, MPH

  36. Dr. Dennis Tan, MD

  37. Simon Tam, The Slants and PACE Foundation

  38. Tuyen Tran, MPA-HA

  39. Dr Thuy Tran, Rose City Vision Care, Parkrose School Board

  40. Lillian Tsai, TsaiComms LLC

  41. Sandy Tsuneyoshi, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon

  42. Dr. Farzin Turk, Dentist

  43. Dr. Anselmo Villanueva, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon

  44. Joseph Wahl, former President, Oregon Buddhist Temple

  45. Khalid Wahab, JD MPH, Former Chair Oregon Environmental Justice Task Force

  46. Mari Watanabe, Oregon Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs

  47. Bing Wong

  48. Byron Wong, Thymos and

  49. Hyeyoung Woo, Sociology, Portland State University

  50. Dr. Phil Wu, Kaiser

  51. Jean Yamamoto, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon

  52. Helen Ying, Chinese American Citizen’s Alliance Portland Lodge

  53. Julie Yu, MD

  54. Justin Yuen, Small Business Owner