Burlington, Vt. – Vermont’s community dentists are launching a public information campaign to highlight the benefits of fluoride in improving individual’s health and reducing overall healthcare costs for Vermonters. The effort is part of their larger Vermont Action for Dental Health initiative.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of community water fluoridation in the United States; a move the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls one of public health’s greatest success stories.
“There’s a clear correlation between good oral health and lower rates of other costly and debilitating diseases like heart disease and diabetes,” said Doctor Grace Dickinson-Branon, president of the Vermont State Dental Society. “Helping Vermonters stay healthy – and reducing the need for costly services – is an important strategy for reducing the growth in total health care costs. Fluoride is a proven strategy. That’s why the CDC has recognized fluoridation as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.”
According to the CDC, every $1 spent on fluoridation, saves about $38 in dental treatment costs and each generation has enjoyed better oral health than the previous one, in part, because of fluoride. In Vermont, fluoride can cost as little as $2 per person. One small filling costs about $100.
Increasing the number of communities that choose fluoride is also a key component of the dentists’ Vermont Action for Dental Health plan. The multi-part plan is a comprehensive solution to Vermont’s oral health care challenges.
The American Dental Association, American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatricians, American Association of Public Health Dentistry and the World Health Organization, all support the science, safety and effectiveness of fluoride.
“Primary care doctors, pediatricians, dentists, hygienists, dental assistants and public health experts are all encouraging communities to support water fluoridation, or add it, for its proven oral health benefits,” said Dr. Judith Fisch of Rutland, a practicing dentist and trustee of the American Dental Association. “70 years of scientific evidence is awesomely clear: Vermonters receive important health benefits from fluoride. That’s why we will be devoting time and energy to promoting fluoridation in a variety of communication channels.”
Almost all water contains some naturally occurring fluoride, but usually at levels too low to prevent tooth decay. Water fluoridation is the process of adjusting the level of fluoride in the water supply to make teeth stronger and prevent cavities. Currently, 56 percent of communities in Vermont benefit from fluoride through their water system.
“Communities utilizing water fluoridation typically have much lower rates of cavities, dental disease and other costly oral health problems,” added Dr. Dickinson-Branon.
To get more facts about fluoride and why doctors and dentists recommend it as an important part of staying healthy visit http://ilikemyteeth.org/fluoridation/
Vaughn Collins, Vermont State Dental Society
C: (802) 377-0087; O: (802) 864-0115