The Town of Bethany will add fluoride to its public water system beginning Nov. 7 to comply with state law, according to the Division of Public Health’s Office of Drinking Water. Under Senate Bill 173, passed in 1998, municipal water supplies must fluoridate their water. There is no established time frame for compliance.

For more than 40 years, the American Dental Association has endorsed fluoridation of community water supplies as safe and effective for preventing tooth decay that leads to cavities. Fluoride occurs naturally in the earth’s crust and small amounts occur naturally in all water sources. The optimal level for fluoride in drinking water is 1.0 parts per million.

Bethany’s entire municipal water system of 2,760 hook ups will receive fluoridated water. The completed project, which began in October 2005, cost $1,954.21 and was funded by a grant from Delaware’s 21st Century Fund. The Town of Bethany will monitor fluoride levels daily and report results monthly to DPH’s Office of Drinking Water. The Office of Drinking Water will collect and test monthly samples from Bethany’s public water system.

Other municipalities providing fluoridated water include Smyrna, Seaford, Dover, Middletown, Delmar, New Castle, Milton, Milford, Lewes, Selbyville, Newark, Laurel, Wilmington, Georgetown and the Dover Air Force Base and Base Housing. Camden-Wyoming, Felton and Clayton have naturally occurring fluoride at optimal levels.

Children who drink optimally fluoridated water daily do not need to take fluoride dietary supplements. Children in households receiving Bethany’s municipal water should discontinue fluoride supplements for their children as of Nov. 7. However, households with home water treatments should consult the manufacturer to determine if their systems remove fluoride. If so, parents and their children’s pediatricians should discuss whether fluoride supplements are needed.

For more information, contact Ron Foreman, director of Bethany’s water department, or Clifford Graviet, town manager, at 302-593-8011.

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.