Water Fluoridation

Water Fluoridation

Water Faucet ImageThe Aspen to Parachute Dental Health Alliance (APDHA) is in support of water fluoridation in our local communities. Currently, Glenwood Springs, Aspen, and Snowmass Village have fluoridated water. Rifle will be considering this issue in 2016 as it builds a new water treatment facility.

Following is information about the importance of water fluoridation, organizations that support it and research that demonstrates its effectiveness:

The Colorado Dental Association (CDA) and Oral Health Colorado (OHC) partner on statewide community water fluoridation online tools – http://www.cofluoridefacts.org/

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have called water fluoridation one of the 10 “great public health achievements of the 20th century.” http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation

In addition, water fluoridation is endorsed by the American Dental Association (ADA) http://www.ada.org/en/public-programs/advocating-for-the-public/fluoride-and-fluoridation/ada-fluoridation-policy.

According to the University of Colorado – Anschutz Medical Campus– “Water fluoridation saves Americans over $6 billion in dental work – CU Anschutz study finds national return on investment is 20 to one” http://www.cuanschutztoday.org/water-fluoridation-saves-americans-over-6-billion-in-dental-work/

To view all the organizations that support water fluoridation go to the Campaign for Dental Health by the American Academy of Pediatrics at www.ilikemyteeth.org.

This column endorsed by Harvard Medical School explains that fluoride is a good health practice, and it is not harmful. Go to http://www.askdoctork.com/is-fluoride-bad-for-you-201211283791.

These scientific studies demonstrate the safety and benefits of drinking water with fluoride: http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/safety/systematic.htm.

The CDC explains that fluoridation works because it provides teeth “with frequent contact with low levels of fluoride throughout each day and throughout life.” Best of all, fluoridation is the least expensive way to get fluoride’s benefits. Of course, the best approach is to prevent cavities from happening in the first place. The CDC reports that fluoridated water reduces tooth decay by 25 percent over a person’s lifetime.

Water fluoridation is a big reason why children today have much less tooth decay than 40 or 50 years ago. Still, tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease— even more common than asthma. Like other diseases, tooth decay will only get worse unless it’s treated.

The APDHA sees over 1,400 children each school year and visits 18 or more schools through the Smiles for Students program. The registered dental hygienists who provide the dental hygiene exams for the children notice less cavities and better overall oral health of children in our communities that have water fluoridation versus those that do not. This safe and effective practice makes a difference in our communities.

Research shows that a child with dental problems is about three times more likely to be absent from school. In our economy, adults who are looking for work cannot afford to show up at a job interview with unhealthy or missing teeth. Whether it should or not, having “bad teeth” will disqualify many adults from the jobs they are seeking. For seniors water fluoridation can provide protection to ensure healthy teeth over the course of their lives.

For the health of our community and children, all of us should encourage the Snowmass Water & Sanitation Board to bring back water fluoridation. It will help individuals and families avoid pain or stigma from having dental problems, and it will save money for families and the health care system.

For downloadable information on fluoridation:

In Their Own Words – What Respected Organizations Say About the Safety and Effectiveness of Community Water Fluoridation

U.S. Public Health Service Recommendation for Fluoride Concentration in Drinking Water for the Prevention of Dental Caries

Listed below is a sample of leading medical authorities recommending community water fluoridation:

American Medical Association
“The AMA urges state health departments to consider the value of required statewide fluoridation (preferably a comprehensive program of fluoridation of all public water supplies, where these are fluoride deficient)… ”

The Mayo Clinic
“Adding fluoride to public water supplies has helped decrease tooth decay significantly. If you drink only bottled water that doesn’t contain fluoride, you’ll miss out on its benefits.”

American Osteopathic Association
“The American Osteopathic Association supports the fluoridation of fluoride-deficient public water supply.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The CDC named the “fluoridation of drinking water” as one of “10 great public health achievements” of the 20th century

American Academy of Pediatrics
“Fluoride plays a very important role in the prevention of dental caries. Although the primary mechanism of action of fluoride in preventing dental caries is topical, systemic mechanisms are also important. …. Water fluoridation is a cost-effective means of preventing dental caries, with the lifetime cost per person equaling less than the cost of 1 dental restoration. In short, fluoridated water is the cheapest and most effective way to deliver anticaries benefits to communities.”

American Academy of Family Physicians
“Fluoridation of public water supplies is a safe, economical, and effective measure to prevent dental caries.”

Tennessee Department of Health
“Fluoride is naturally occurring and present in all bodies of water (rivers, lakes, springs, and wells) to some degree. Water fluoridation is the adjustment of the natural level of fluoride to a level that is optimal for oral health.”

Royal Society of New Zealand
“Naturally occurring concentrations of fluoride in water in some parts of the world (e.g. parts of China, Africa, and India) are much higher than those found in fluoridated water, and in some of these regions high fluoride intakes are known to cause problems in teeth and bones (dental and skeletal fluorosis). It is important to distinguish between effects of apparent fluoride toxicity at very high intakes, and effects that may occur at the much lower intakes from Community Water Flouridation. Some studies have failed to do so, giving rise to potentially misleading statements and confusion.”

American Dental Association
“Studies conducted throughout the past 65 years have consistently shown that fluoridation of community water supplies is safe and effective in preventing dental decay in both children and adults. Simply by drinking water, children and adults can benefit from fluoridation’s cavity protection whether they are at home, work or school.”

British Dental Association
“A recent European summary of the latest scientific evidence reiterated the view that water fluoridation is a safe and effective method of reducing oral health inequalities.”

Canadian Dental Association
“Fluoride is added to public drinking water to protect all members of the community from tooth decay. Community water fluoridation is a safe and effective way of preventing tooth decay at a low cost.”

Australian Dental Association
“Drinking fluoridated water several times a day is the ideal way to give your teeth a quick fluoride treatment. .… Fluoride from fluoridated water is found in saliva and provides a wonderful, low concentration fluoride treatment for your teeth.”

American Association for the Advancement of Science
“… fluoridation of community water supplies is repeatedly demonstrating that it is an effective public health measure for the mass partial control of dental cavities, and … [AAAS is] on record as endorsing fluoridation of community water supplies as a method for advancing dental public health…”

American Association of Public Health Dentistry
“… it has been shown that children with the greatest dental need and who are at highest risk for tooth decay benefit the most from water fluoridation. …. The Association recommends that federal, state, and local agencies and organizations promote water fluoridation as the foundation for better oral health.”

American Public Health Association
“[The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services] announced proposed recommendations to simplify the recommended optimal level for community water systems to 0.7 mg/L fluoride … APHA continues to support community water fluoridation as a sound public health preventive measure. ….  Much of the credit for the nation’s better oral health can be attributed to the decision in the 1940s to begin adding fluoride to public drinking water systems.”

C. Everett Koop, MD, Surgeon General under President Ronald Reagan
“… I encourage the dental profession in communities which do not enjoy the benefits of an optimally fluoridated drinking water supply to exercise effective leadership in bringing the concentration to within an optimum level”
David Butler Jones, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada (2004-2014)
“The Public Health Agency of Canada supports water fluoridation for our oral health. Simply put, it is a safe and cost effective public health measure which has the potential to benefit everyone, regardless of age, socioeconomic status, education, or employment.”

David Satcher, MD, PhD, Surgeon General under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush
“Of the 50 largest cities in the country, 43 are fluoridated. A significant advantage of water fluoridation is that anyone, regardless of socioeconomic level, can enjoy these health benefits during their daily lives—at home, work, or at school or play—simply by drinking fluoridated water or beverages prepared with fluoridated water. … Other evidence of the benefits of fluoridation comes from studies of populations where fluoridation has ceased. Examples in the United States, Germany, and Scotland have shown that when fluoridation is withdrawn and there are few other fluoride exposures, the prevalence of caries increases.”

Florida Department of Elder Affairs
“Fluoridation of community drinking water, and the regular use of other fluoride products, are responsible for the dramatic reductions in tooth decay experienced by infants, children, and adults of all ages in the United States.
… Because older Americans are now keeping their teeth longer, fluoride will continue to be even more important for preventing tooth decay in this age group. Older Americans are especially susceptible to tooth decay because of exposed root surfaces and mouth dryness that may result from many of the medications they might be using to treat certain chronic conditions.”

International Agency for Research on Cancer
“Fluoridation of drinking-water was introduced in the USA in 1950, and thus the studies in the USA encompass periods of observation of 20 years or more. … The studies have shown no consistent tendency for people living in areas with high concentrations of fluoride in the water to have higher cancer rates than those living in areas with low concentrations or for cancer mortality rates to increase following fluoridation.”

Linus Pauling, winner of the Nobel Prize (1954) and National Medal of Science (1974)
Note: Opponents of water fluoridation often label fluoride as “toxic” or “poison.” Linus Pauling debunked this assertion in a 1967 article, writing:
“In this respect, fluoride ion is similar to many other substances, such as vitamin D, that are harmful in large amounts but are required in small amounts for life and good health of human beings.”

Pew Charitable Trusts
“The Pew Charitable Trusts supports water fluoridation because it’s one of the most cost-effective strategies for states and communities to improve the oral health of their residents. Although a number of communities in the U.S. have been fluoridating their public water systems for more than 60 years, this strategy has been called into question by anti-fluoride activists who have posted many online attacks against this health practice.”

Source and citations:  Quotes taken from Campaign for Dental Health | www.ilikemyteeth.org | 2014, a program of the American Academy of Pediatrics.