This article is likely a media release from the I-Smile™ initiative of the Iowa Department of Health. It makes no mention of the potential risks of lowered IQ to the offspring of pregnant women living in fluoridated communities, nor to the potential for risks to formula-fed infants whose formula is made with fluoridated tap water. (EC)
Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel, making teeth more resistant to decay. When fluoride is found naturally or added to community drinking water at proper concentrations, tooth decay can be prevented. The entire community benefits – all ages and income levels.
Community water fluoridation is one of the top ten public health achievements of the 20th century due to its impact in reducing the amount of tooth decay experienced by Americans, particularly children.
Even with the availability of other fluoride-containing products, fluoridated water prevents at least 25 percent of tooth decay in kids and adults. It is especially important for those individuals who may not be able to receive dental care.
Research has shown that kids in communities with optimally fluoridated water have 2.25 fewer decayed teeth that those without optimally fluoridated water.
Tooth decay affects all age groups. And although it is preventable, it is the most common chronic disease of childhood. Untreated decay can lead to pain, tooth loss, poor nutrition, and difficulty eating, sleeping, and learning.
What are the Costs and Savings?
By preventing tooth decay, water fluoridation saves money, both for families and for the health care system. Depending on the number of residents in a community, every dollar spent on fluoridation can save up to $38 in avoided dental bills. Over a lifetime, the cost of fluoridation can be less than the cost of one dental filling.
Although helpful, fluoride tablets, rinses, and toothpaste are more expensive and less effective than the fluoridation of drinking water.
To find out if your community water supply is optimally fluoridated to protect your teeth or for more information regarding community water fluoridation visit: CDC My Water’s Fluoride at nccd.cdc.gov/DOH_MWF/Default/WaterSystemList.aspx
For more information on oral health, you can contact your local dental office or your I-Smile Coordinator Jennifer Macke, RDH, at 712-263-3303. The I-Smile Program provides oral health education, screening, fluoride varnish, and care coordination services for children in Harrison, Cass, Crawford, Monona, and Shelby Counties.
Oral health services are funded by the Iowa Department of Public Health, Buena Vista-Crawford-Sac Early Childhood Iowa, Harrison-Monona-Shelby Early Childhood Iowa and Boost4Families Early Childhood Iowa (Cass-Mills-Montgomery).