Fluoride Action Network

Coast, state lag in providing fluoridated water

Source: Sun Herald | July 14th, 2007 | By MIKE KELLER

— South Mississippi isn’t easy on the teeth.

Mississippi’s Gulf Coast is one of the state’s problem spots for public water systems not adding tooth-saving fluoride to tap water, dental health officials say.

“Two areas of the state stand out for lacking fluoridation programs, the Delta and the Gulf Coast,” said Nick Mosca, state dental director with the Mississippi Department of Health. “We don’t know why it worked out this way.”

Mosca and John Justice, fluorination administrator for the Health Department, said the state as a whole is behind the rest of the country in offering residents fluoride-supplemented water.

Justice said 52 percent of Mississippi residents get fluoridated water from their public supply, while about 90 percent of the populations of Tennessee, Kentucky and Georgia get the supplemented water.

“The federal objective is to have 75 percent of the country’s population on public water systems fluoridated by 2010,” Justice said. “Mississippi is behind the rest of the country and significantly behind other southeastern states.”

Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay and saves people from costly dental bills.

But fluoridated water is a more hotly contested issue than some recognize. People debate about potential over-fluoridation of the public with the widespread availability of toothpaste containing fluoride. Some worry about adding more chemicals to the human body.

But Mosca said national studies are clear. They have found that every dollar invested in public fluoride programs saves $38 in dental treatment costs down the line.

A 2004-05 state study of third-graders found 40 percent of them had untreated tooth decay and 10 percent urgently needed dental care because of pain or swelling associated with tooth decay.

In another sign that Mississippi teeth can use whatever help they can get, the state found one in three residents 65 and older had lost all their teeth, ranking the state second worst in the country for that dubious distinction.

A state document said it rarely costs more than 80 cents a year per person for municipalities to provide fluoridated water.

Yet a Sun Herald calculation found less than 5 percent of the people on public water in Harrison County are getting the optimum level of fluoride in their water. The public water systems and whether they meet the federal optimum level of fluoride are listed on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control Web site.

In Hancock County, the 35 people at Sunrise Home Mobile Park are the only ones getting the recommended fluoride levels from their drinking water out of more than 31,000 served in the county. That’s just over 0.1 percent of the population.

Jackson County is the only one on the Coast meeting the federal 75 percent goal for total population on public water getting recommended levels of fluoride.

Mississippi’s Health Department has been given a grant to provide equipment, training and up to two years of fluoride to get municipalities started on providing it to their residents.

“Our experience is that funding is an issue and when we provide it, the program becomes attractive,” Mosca said. “This protects your oral health and it prevents your family from getting tooth decay. This program is a no-brainer.”

The city of Gulfport, which the CDC reports is providing water to almost 70,000 people below the federally recommended range, had discussed providing fluoride to residents but now is contending with post-Katrina problems. The city, like many others on the Coast, does have some naturally occurring fluoride in its water supply.

“In the future, if we get evidence that fluoridation is highly recommended, it’s definitely something the city needs to do,” said Public Works Director Kris Riemann. “We need a mandate from the Health Department. It’s definitely not a bad idea because it gives a little extra protection, especially if you don’t brush your teeth regularly.”

Where’s the fluoride?

Public systems adding fluoride to water supplies or with naturally occurring fluoride levels at optimum level:


City of Lucedale Sodium Fluoride 2,458
Combined utilities Sodium Fluoride 3,870
Multi Mart Water Assn Cons 1,290

Sunrise Mobile Home Park Natural 35

Keesler Air Force Base Fluorosilicic Acid 8,000

City of Moss Point Natural 17,337
E.G. Taylor Water System Natural 134
Escatawpa Utility District Natural 7,072
Gautier Utility District Natural 18,850
Gulf Breeze Mobile Home Park Natural 115
Krebs Trailer Plaza Natural 30
P.A.C. Utility Co. Natural 450
Tesi: Ocean Beach Utility Natural 1,200
Woodland Park Natural 105

City of Picayune Utilities Sodium Fluoride 9,975
Town of Poplarville Sodium Fluoride 3,198
Stone County

City of Wiggins Sodium Fluoride 3,849
Flint Creek Utility Assn. Cons 232
McHenry Utility Assn. Natural 1,100



Bexley Water Assn. 980
Rocky Creek Utility 1,803

City of Bay St Louis 8,350
City of Waveland 6,674
Diamondhead Utilities-north 8,121
Hancock County Water & Sewer 2,700
Kiln Water & Fire Prot Dist 3,212
Pleasant Hill Water Group 50
Scafidis Wheel Inn & Trailer Park 80
TESI: Jourdan River Shores 870
TESI: Oak Harbor 390
TESI: White Cypress Lakes 390
TESI: Clermont Harbor 741

Apple Valley Trailer Park 60
Bradford Place Subdivision 641
C&R Properties 58
Cedar Lake Apartments 90
Cedar Lake Biloxi, LLC 492
Charlotte Dev Co-Knollwood S/D 123
City of Biloxi 35,966
City of Biloxi-French Utilities 2,000
City of Biloxi-north 5,462
City of D’Iberville-Magnolia 105
City of Gulfport 49,000
City of Gulfport-Oakleigh 1,375
City of Gulfport-Orange Grove 19,598
City of Long Beach 20,000
City of Pass Christian 8,386
Country Living Mobile Home Park 210
D’Iberville Water Supply 7,860
Dedeaux Utility Co. 5,058
Deerwood Utilities 198
Dogwood Hills Subdivision 77
Dolans Mobile Home Park 540
Edgewater Garden Apartment 250
Highway 49 Mobile Home Park 75
Homestead Mobile Home Park 65
Lyman Utilities 174
Naval Construction Battal Ctr 3,191
Palmer Creek Utility Assn. 474
Pine Haven Mobile Home Village 345
Plummer Subdivision 87
Ridgecrest Estates 220
Riverbend Utilities 114
Robinwood Forest Utility 1,095
Saucier Utilities 2,600
TESI: Lakewood Environmental 306
TESI: Pass Christian Isles 1,170
The Oaks Utilities 78
Tuxachanie Estates 157
Woolmarket Village Estates 1,951

Bluff Creek Mobile Home Park 182
City of Ocean Springs 17,225
City of Pascagoula 25,899
Coast Water Works 3,486
Coast Water Works-Gulf Hills 1,388
Coast Water Works-Windsor Park 2,666
Colonial Estates 183
Helena Park Water System 47
Magnolia Utilities 1,092
Mockingbird Trailer Park 78
Pine Grove Water System 95
Seventh St. Subdivision 69
St. Andrews Water & Sewer 1,273
Sweetbriar-Twin Bayou s/d 908
TESI: Beach Bayou 141
TESI: Gulf Park 4,425
TESI: Langley Pt 390
TESI: Rouse’s 213
Tucker Hill Water Works 89
W. Jackson Co. Utility Dist. 45
Westwick Utility Porteaux Bay 1,278

Center w/a-Caesar System 4,431
Center w/a-Progress System 429
Dixie Utilities 587
Hide-a-Way Lake Water System 3,056
Lake David Water Service 741
Liberty Road Trailer Park 115
Nicholson Water Association 4,500
Pearl River Central w/a 7,860
Pearl River Central w/a-bi co 2,196
Pearl River Central w/a-north 1,923
Spring Hill Water Association 2,535
Sunny Oaks Water Assn. 741
Timberland-Virginia Nanor 291

MS Gulf Coast Junior College 600
New Zion Utility Assn. 1,675
Stone Utility Association 1,110
Sunflower Utility Assn. 778


“The federal objective is to have 75 percent of the country’s population on public water systems fluoridated by 2010. Mississippi is behind the rest of the country and significantly behind other southeastern states.”

John Justice, Mississippi Department of Health