Fluoride Action Network

Some Worcester County Communities Lack Fluoridated Water

Source: WBOC-TV 16 | March 26th, 2009 | Reported by Steve Dorsey
Location: United States, Maryland

OCEAN PINES, Md.- The Worcester County Health Department says it is moving forward with plans to open a dental clinic for children in Berlin next year. The clinic will treat children from low-income families, and on Medicaid.

The Eastern Shore has the most untreated tooth decay in Maryland, according to the state.

Worcester County health officers say Ocean Pines does not have fluoride in tap water, like many other communities in Worcester, except Snow Hill and Pocomoke. Experts say fluoride can help prevent cavaties and strengthen teeth.

“I just want to give my kids the most healthy start I can. That’s one thing when they’re growing up, they want to have proper vitamins and strong teeth and bones,” said Ocean Pines resident Marylin Brunkhorst.

Brunkhorst said to compensate for the lack of fluoride in her tap water, she gives her children prescription fluoride tablets. The Worcester County Health Department believes the main problem is many local dentists do not accept Medicaid recipients.

Health officers said it is because the reimbursement to the doctors is very little, leaving many impoverished children without a place to go. The department said the CDC recommends fluoride in water to prevent tooth decay in children.

Fluoridation is a safe, effective, and I believe generally inexpensive way of providing fluoride for children,” said Rebecca Shockley of the CDC.

Health officers said they do not know why all Worcester communities have not been using fluoride, and many of the county’s other residents rely solely on unfluoridated well water.