Seminole, Florida - "I'm going to get you numb up there," says dentist Ed Busch Wednesday afternoon to a client seated in his Seminole office.
Busch knows teeth- politics, not so much. But this election there was an issue he could really sink his teeth into: water fluoridation.
"The CDC actually says it's one of the top ten best things to ever happen to us- it's been proven to work," says Busch emphatically.
So Busch and many others in the medical community were stunned by the commission vote last year to ban the addition of the cavity-fighting mineral to Pinellas County's water supply.
It shocked them so much, that they got involved, and promoted pro-fluoride candidates. It was unfamiliar territory. "We don't like to go and show the sides we're on," says Busch.
But in this case, for the very first time, Busch allowed a candidate to post an election sign outside his office and he even handed out informational fliers to clients.
And the efforts by Busch andhis dental colleagues paid off. On Tuesday, two commissioners who voted to ban fluoride, Republicans Nancy Bostock and Neil Brickfield, lost their seats to Democrats Charlie Justice and Janet Long.
Long, who put a giant tooth sticker on all her campaign signs, says fluoride is something voters cared about. "People talked about it to me everywhere I went," says Long. "In debates, in the grocery store- people would come up to me and talk about it."
On Wednesday, Long and Busch smiled wide for photographs over the win, and with two new commissioners, there should be enough votes on the board to change the county's fluoride flow.
And while this week her campaign signs come down, Long says her promise to bring back water fluoridation stands. "Absolutely," she says. "I hope it's the very first vote I get to take once I'm sworn in."