Looking for a reason to celebrate this week? Why not join us in celebrating the 69th anniversary of community water fluoridation? There are worse reasons to eat cake! If you do choose to bake something sweet and celebrate, rest easy knowing that fluoride is helping you fight the onset of cavities and prevent tooth decay.
A Little More About Water Fluoridation
Nearly 70 years ago, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the United States became the first country to fluoridate its water. This means a controlled amount of fluoride is added to the water supply. This started after it was proven to significantly reduce the risk of tooth decay, the formation of cavities and generally make teeth stronger and healthier. Other than fluorosis (a disturbance in enamel caused by too much fluoride that creates white streaks on the teeth) there is no proof that fluoridated water has any adverse effects on health. Because fluorosis is mainly an aesthetic concern, it is often not considered adverse enough to stop water fluoridation.
However, because of the nature of water fluoridation the practice has caused some controversy and has been met with some opposition. Fluoride is used to effectively “treat” or prevent a health problem (i.e. tooth decay, poor oral health). Because of this some people see it as the government prescribing a treatment they didn’t seek out in the first place. In this way community water fluoridation becomes an argument of ethics and personal rights. While this is a sensitive area of concern that should be respected and addressed, many people who are opposed to water fluoridation cite unproven studies that irresponsibly purport serious adverse effects of the practice. As a result people who have no ethical objection to water fluoridation are fighting it because they’ve heard what it can do and are scared. Accordingly, it’s very important that adequate and correct information about water fluoridation is provided to the public.
Fluoride often occurs in water naturally. Many communities do not have to add fluoride to their water because their water naturally contains a sufficient amount.
The Center for Disease Control has recognized community water fluoridation as one of the top ten achievements in health of the past century. Other achievements to make the list were family planning, and the recognition of the harms of smoking.
75% of the United States now has access to fluoridated water. The American Dental Association hopes to see this raised to 80% by the year 2020. 6 million more people are now benefiting from fluoride than were in 2012.
It is relatively cheap to provide fluoridated water to the public, and saves individuals a considerable amount on dental care each year.
While there are other ways to incorporate fluoride into your dental health routine, the most effective way has been shown to maintain a constant low level of fluoride in the mouth at all times (most easily achieved through drinking water). Some countries have attempted to introduce fluoridate salt, while many others have advocated the use of fluoridated toothpastes and rinses.
Greenspoint Dental can answer any questions you might have about water fluoridation so feel free to call and ask!