Three years ago, Jefferson County was selected as a state pilot project to enhance strategies that would measurably improve young children’s oral health status.
The project was successful and has expanded to include health and human service agencies from Oswego, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. This four-county coalition, called Keep the North Country Smiling, is continuing the work begun in Jefferson County. A key objective remains in place to maintain or expand access to community water fluoridation.
The village of Potsdam is considering removing fluoride from its water supply. This is very concerning from public and oral health perspectives.
Fluoride exists naturally in nearly all water supplies. Water is “fluoridated” when a public water system adjusts the fluoride to a level that is optimal for preventing tooth decay. It is extremely safe, and its population health impact has been cited as one of the most successful public health advances in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Adults and children without community water fluoridation experience more dental health problems. A state study completed in 2010 revealed that low-income children in less-fluoridated counties needed 33 percent more fillings, root canals and extractions than those in counties where fluoride was common. Research demonstrates that children who drink water fluoridated at optimal levels can experience 20 percent to 40 percent less tooth decay.
The Keep the North Country Smiling coalition respectfully urges village of Potsdam trustees to support continuation of its community water fluoridation program.
Stephen A. Jennings
The writer is an organizing member of Keep the North Country Smiling. He also serves as a public health planner with the Jefferson County Public Health Service and is a member of the Watertown City Council.
*Original article online at http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/opinion/potsdam-should-keep-fluoridating-its-water-20171011