On behalf of the more than 900 members of the New Hampshire Dental Society, I call on the towns and cities of our state to increase access to fluoride in our public drinking water. Today, only about a dozen towns in New Hampshire fluoridate public drinking water. As a result, New Hampshire ranks 43rd in the United States for fluoridation access. Less than 390,000 New Hampshire residents, or less than half the 834,000 people who are on public water systems, have access to fluoridated water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We can increase the oral health wellness of our population safely and affordably with this one small investment.
Every reputable research study has shown that optimally fluoridated drinking water is a safe and simple way to help prevent cavities, keep tooth enamel strong and protect against tooth decay. If we increase access to fluoridated water across our state, we could decrease the rate of tooth decay in children by as much as 40 percent. The CDC has recognized water fluoridation as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.
Nashua is a great place to start. With 87,000 residents, Nashua is the largest city in the state that does not fluoridate its public water system. Recently, the Nashua Telegraph reported that Manchester spends about $145,000 a year on fluoridation to serve about 160,000 residents, less than $1 a year per person. One cavity, in on the other hand, can cost more than 50 years worth of water fluoridation.
Clinical studies conducted over the past 70 years have consistently shown that fluoridation of community water supplies is highly effective in preventing tooth decay in both children and adults. Today, thousands of New Hampshire residents have healthier teeth because of the fluoride in their community’s water system. But only about a dozen towns fluoridate, and that has to change.
Fluoride occurs naturally in drinking water. Fluoridation is simply the precise adjustment to the optimal level recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service for the prevention of tooth decay.
While fluoride in water can help protect teeth, it is just one part of maintaining overall dental health. Regular visits to a dentist are essential for both children and adults, as well as brushing for two minutes, twice a day, and flossing regularly.
To learn more, please visit www.FluorideNH.com.
Dr. Peter Welnak, DDS
President of the New Hampshire Dental Society