Thanks to efforts led by the California Dental Association Foundation to expand access to fluoridation, California now has the largest total number of residents of any state receiving fluoridated water.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released the latest Water Fluoridation Statistics that indicate 58 percent of Californians (21.5 million) receive fluoridated water, up from 27 percent in 2002.
The remarkable increase earned California the State Fluoridation Initiative Award for its success in achieving the greatest increase in the number of residents benefiting from fluoridated water. The CDA Foundation and its partners spearheaded these efforts, which were recognized earlier this year by the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors.
“We’re delighted with the progress our state has made so far,” said Lindsey Robinson, DDS, chair of the CDA Foundation board of directors. “But we need to continue to move decisively so more Californians – especially our children – can receive the benefit of this great public health achievement.”
Before CDA spurred efforts to expand fluoridation in the late 1990s, only 17 percent of California’s population received the benefit of fluoridated water. Progress was achieved largely by Assembly Bill 733, CDA-sponsored legislation approved in 1995 that required communities with 10,000 or more water connections to fluoridate when funding became available to do so.
Since then, the CDA Foundation and its partners, working with private funders, began providing grants to help communities initiate fluoridation projects. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Escondido, Santa Maria and Daly City are among the communities to benefit from the funding. However, despite this progress and a new ranking of 36th among states, California still has one of the largest U.S. cities, San Jose, that is not fluoridated.
“The CDA Foundation has and will continue to fight for improvements to children’s oral health through research, education, advocacy and fluoridation initiatives,” said Robinson, adding that the federal government’s Healthy People 2010 objective for fluoridation of 75 percent is a target CDA will work hard to achieve in the near future.
About the California Dental Association Foundation
The CDA Foundation was formed as the philanthropic affiliate of the California Dental Association in 2001 with the mission to improve the oral health of Californians by supporting the dental health profession and its efforts to increase access to care for the state’s most vulnerable people. The CDA Foundation works with experts in the dental profession, private business, academic institutions and government to produce programs that increase access to care; promote prevention, education and intervention; advance health policy research; and build a sustainable oral health workforce. www.cdafoundation.org