There are a few simple steps individual dentists, dental societies and oral health coalitions can take to help protect fluoridation for residents in their communities, said Dr. John Hanck, chair of the National Fluoridation Advisory Committee and member of the ADA Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations:
• Read your annual Water Quality Report—Water systems are required to provide their customers with this report, sometimes called the Consumer Confidence Report, by July 1 of each year. The reports, which detail quality and content of water, may be mailed to consumers’ homes (often with the water bill), published in local newspapers or posted online. Dental professionals should review the report to check the level of fluoride in the water.
• Know your policymakers—It’s easier to meet a fluoridation challenge head on when you are familiar with those who make decisions in your community and have already established a relationship of trust and mutual respect.
• Work with the local or state oral health coalition—Dentists who work with dental hygienists and dental assistants, physicians, nurses, public health officials and other individuals and groups in the community can show policymakers and the public that fluoridation has broad-based support and endorsement.
• Tour your local water plant—Seeing how the water plant operates and getting to know its personnel builds bridges and opens lines of communication and education with the water system, policymakers and the public.
• Use ADA and other fluoridation resources—From the ADA’s comprehensive Fluoridation Facts booklet (available at ada.org/4378.aspx), to links for information from dozens of other respected organizations on fluoridation, visit ADA.org/fluoride. The ADA also offers personalized help for communities facing hearings, ballot initiatives or other measures where fluoridation is an issue. The ADA Councils on Communications and Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations have created a new resource kit for dental societies. Fluoridation: Tap In To Your Health, will be available in late July. Watch upcoming issues of the ADA News for more information. For more information, contact Jane McGinley, manager, Fluoridation and Preventive Health Activities for the ADA Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free, Ext. 2862.