Since the late 1960s, the state of Connecticut has fluoridated its public water supply. Why? Fluoridation is the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay. Water fluoridation helps prevent dental disease. It is the most efficient way to prevent one of the most common childhood diseases – dental decay. It is both safe, and effective. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), community water fluoridation is one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century.
One senator decided to re-open the question about water fluoridation during this past legislative session. Senator Joe Markeley (R-Southington) introduced legislation to make water fluoridation a municipal-level, as opposed to state-level, decision. This bill died.
This past week, Sen. Markeley held an informational hearing in Hartford to educate himself and the public about water fluoridation. He also invited controversial anti-fluoridation speaker, Paul Connett of the Fluoride Action Network. Connett is against all water fluoridation, and claims it causes more harm than good.
Dental associations in Connecticut were invited to participate in this hearing, but declined to attend. Instead, the Connecticut Coalition for Oral Health wrote and sent a letter to Sen. Markeley to provide facts in support of water fluoridation as a public health measure to prevent tooth decay. The Connecticut State Dental Association (CSDA), the Connecticut Health Foundation (CT Health) and others in the coalition all signed the letter.
Here is the letter (online)
To: CT State Senator Markeley
From: Connecticut State Dental Association
June 25, 2013
Dear Senator Markley:
As members of the Connecticut Coalition for Oral Health and other health care advocates in Connecticut,we strongly support the fluoridation of Connecticut’s community water supplies. As a whole, we believethat all Connecticut residents should have access to fluoridated community water, as it will only benefittheir oral health. Below we have compiled a list of the reasons we support the fluoridation of the water supply in Connecticut.
• Fluoridation is the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay. Accordingto the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), community water fluoridation is one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. (1)
• Fluoride is nature’s cavity fighter, occurring naturally in the earth’s crust. Small amounts of fluoride occur naturally in all water sources, and varying amounts of the mineral are found in allfoods and beverages.
• Water fluoridation helps prevent dental disease. It is the most efficient way to prevent one of themost common childhood diseases – dental decay. An estimated 51 million school hours are losteach year due to dental-related illness. (2)
• Studies show that community water fluoridation prevents at least 25% of tooth decay in childrenand adults, even in an era with widespread availability of fluoride from other sources, such asfluoride toothpaste. (3,4)
• Fluoridation of community water is safe and effective. For more than 65 years, the best availablescientific evidence consistently indicates that community water fluoridation is safe and effective.
• The average lifetime cost per person to fluoridate a water supply is less than the cost of one dentalfilling. For most cities, every $1 invested in water fluoridation saves $38 in dental treatmentcosts. (5)
• The benefits of community water fluoridation is recognized by more than 100 organizationsincluding, the American Dental Association, U.S. Public Health Services, the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, as well as more than 125 national and international organizations. (6)
Mark Desrosiers, DMD, President, Connecticut State Dental Association
Sharon D. Langer, Interim Executive Director, Connecticut Voices for Children
Mary Moran Boudreau, Executive Director, Connecticut Oral Health Initiative
Howard I. Mark, DMD, Founding President, Connecticut Oral Health Initiative
Evelyn A. Barnum, J.D., Chief Executive Officer, Community Health Center Association of Connecticut
Mary Bencivengo R.D.H., M.S., Division Director, Allied Health, Tunxis Community CollegeRaven Roberts Henderson, DDS, President, Connecticut Society of Pediatric Dentistry
Sandra Carbonari, MD, President, CT Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
Community Health Center Association of Connecticut
Connecticut Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
Connecticut Dental Health Partnership
Connecticut Department of Developmental Services
Connecticut Department of Public Health
Connecticut Health Foundation
Connecticut Dental Hygienists’ Association
Connecticut Oral Health Initiative
Connecticut Society of Pediatric Dentistry
Connecticut Voices for Children
ORBIT Collaborative (Oral Health Bridgeport Initiative)
Tunxis Community College, Dental Hygiene Program
University of New Haven Dental Hygiene Program
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Ten Great Public Health Achievements – United States, 1990-1999.” MMWR 1999; 48 (12):241-3.
2. Gift, H.C. “Oral Health Outcomes Research: Challenges and Opportunities.” In Slade, G.D., ed., Measuring Oral Health and Quality of Life.Chapel Hill, NC: Department of Dental Ecology, University of North Carolina 1997; 25-46.
3. Griffin S.O., et al. “Effectiveness of Fluoride in Preventing Caries in Adults.” J Dent Res 2007; 86 (5): 410-415.
4. Task Force of Community Preventive Services. “Promoting Oral health: Interventions for Preventing Dental Caries, Oral and PharyngealCancers, and Sports-related Craniofacial Injuries: A Report on Recommendations of the Task Force of Community Prevention Services,” MMWR 001;50 (RR21): 1-13. View information at thecommunityguide.org/oral/fluoridation.html and cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr502a1.htm.
5. Griffin S.O., Jones, K., Tomar, S.L. “An Economic Evaluation of Community Water Fluoridation,” J Public Health Dent 2001; 61(2); 78-86.
6. American Dental Association Fluoridation Facts Compendium. Available at ADA.org/4378.aspx