Vermont Public is independent, community-supported media, serving Vermont with trusted, relevant and essential information. We share stories that bring people together, from every corner of our region. New to Vermont Public? Start here.

© 2024 Vermont Public | 365 Troy Ave. Colchester, VT 05446

Public Files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact or call 802-655-9451.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Future of fluoridated water once again on Rutland's Town Meeting Day ballot

Woman filling a glass of water from a stainless steel or chrome tap or faucet, close up on her hand and the glass with running water and air bubbles
Rutland voters will once again decide if the town should continue to fluoridate its municipal water. Fluoridating water is one of the easiest ways to prevent tooth decay, but some voters have concerns about other impacts. When Rutland voted on the topic in 2016, residents chose to keep fluoride in.

Town Meeting Day voters in Rutland will weigh in on whether they want the city to continue adding fluoride to municipal water.

Rutland began fluoridating its water in 1983. The U.S. Surgeon General calls it one of the most practical, cost-effective, equitable and safe measures communities can take to prevent tooth decay.

Opponents believe possible negative effects are being brushed aside, but dentists tout decades of improved oral health.

Robin Miller is Vermont's oral health director. She said dental care can be hard to access, and tooth decay is the most common chronic disease for American kids and adults. Low-income families are hit hardest.

“Access to dental care is difficult for many people, especially right now, and community water fluoridation may be one of the only preventative dental benefits that some people are getting," Miller said. "And this is a way to provide the decay prevention for everyone in the community regardless of age, race or income level.”

More from Vermont Public: More dental care providers in Rutland hope to meet high demand post-pandemic

But Rutland resident Jack Crowther has been a longtime critic.

“You’re putting a drug, a medicine, in our water to treat tooth decay without the informed consent of the people,” Crowther said.

Currently, Rutland’s public works commissioner sets the water fluoridation policy for the city. Voters are being asked to change that and make the decision themselves.

In 2016, the last time it was on the ballot, voters strongly favored keeping fluoride in.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message.


One in five Vermonters is considered elderly. But what does being elderly even mean — and what do Vermonters need to know as they age? I’m looking into how aging in Vermont impacts living essentials such as jobs, health care and housing. And also how aging impacts the stuff of life: marriage, loss, dating and sex.
Latest Stories