The City of Seaford will begin adding fluoride to its public water system June 2 in compliance with state law. Under Senate Bill 173, passed in 1998, municipal water supplies must fluoridate drinking water. The General Assembly provided funds for each municipality’s set-up costs and the first three years of fluoride costs.
The American Dental Association has endorsed fluoridation of community water supplies as safe and effective for preventing tooth decay for more than 40 years. Fluoride is nature’s cavity fighter, occurring naturally in the earth’s crust, in combination with other minerals in rocks and soil. Small amounts of fluoride occur naturally in all water sources, and varying amounts of the mineral are found in all foods and beverages. The optimal level for fluoride in drinking water is 1.0 part per million.
Despite modern advances in dental care, tooth decay remains a major problem for Americans, particularly children. Approximately 84 percent of all children and 96 percent of adults have experienced tooth decay. Untreated tooth decay can lead to serious pain, infection, and tooth loss. Community water fluoridation has been hailed as the most cost-effective community method to prevent tooth decay.
Seaford’s entire municipal water system of 2,500 hookups will receive fluoridated water. The completed project, which began in 1998, cost $40,000. Seaford will monitor fluoride levels daily and report results to Delaware’s Division of Public Health (DPH) monthly. DPH’s Office of Drinking Water will also sample and test water for fluoride levels each month.
Delmar, Dover and New Castle have already implemented fluoridation as a result of the law passed in 1998. Other municipalities that will begin fluoridation include Smyrna, Milton, Blades, Greenwood and Frankford. Those four towns are incorporating the costs of fluoridation equipment into Delaware Drinking Water State Revolving Fund projects. Milford, Lewes, Selbyville, Newark, Wilmington, Georgetown and the Dover Air Force Base and base housing have fluoridated their drinking water for many years, while Camden-Wyoming, Felton and Clayton have naturally occurring fluoride at optimal levels.
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.