LANSING – Benton Harbor is among nine communities to receive a state grant to start and maintain a water fluoridation program.
The Michigan Department of Community Health’s Oral Health Program awarded the city $2,667. Benton Harbor was one of nine communities chosen in February to participate in the program, according to a MDCH news release sent Wednesday.
Between April 1 and Sept. 15, the money is used to buy the fluoridation equipment and have it installed and operational within six months.
The Fluoridation Equipment Grant program, funded by a $100,000 donation from the Delta Dental Foundation, allows communities needing new or updated fluoride equipment to apply for funding.
Community water fluoridation is the process of adjusting the natural fluoride concentration of a water supply to a level that is best for the prevention of dental cavities. About 90 percent of communities with a water system in Michigan have access to fluoridated water. However, some water systems have old equipment that doesn’t allow an effective fluoridation program to be put in place.
“Community water fluoridation has been the basis for primary prevention of dental cavities for years and more importantly, studies have shown that oral health is key to overall health,” said Dr. Matthew Davis, chief medical executive with the MDCH. “These grants are a crucial component to ensuring the overall wellness of an entire community. As with every year, we are incredibly grateful for the Delta Dental Foundation’s support of oral and overall health and wellness for our Michigan residents.”
This is the fourth year the grants have been awarded. The nine communities chosen for the program are Benton Harbor, Battle Creek, Fenton, Frenchtown Charter Township, Kalamazoo, St. Ignace, Plainfield Charter Township, Marquette and Traverse City.
For more information about community water fluoridation and the Fluoridation Equipment Grants, visit www.michigan.gov/oralhealth.