Des Moines Water Works Votes to Keep Central Iowa’s Teeth Healthy
“We should not take for granted that the simple process of adding a tiny amount of fluoride to drinking water helps save our teeth. That can change the trajectory of a child’s future.” argued the Des Moines Register earlier this month in an editorial supporting the continuation of fluoridation in their community. Today, the Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) Board of Trustees agreed.
The DMWW has approved continuing the community’s 54-year history of adjusting the level of fluoride in their water supply to improve residents’ oral health. The Des Moines water system serves about 500,000 people.
Four Things Des Moines Water Works Did Right:
1. Proactively sought public comments: “Good science says things need to be looked at and reviewed,” said DMWW General Manager Bill Stowe. Therefore, Water Works proactively sought and received comments from Des Moines residents and went out of their way to engage the community in discussions related to water fluoridation.
2. Ensured transparency: DMWW received more than 650 comments on the issue, all of which are available for the public’s review here. They also held public forums where residents and experts could openly share their thoughts on the issue with the Water Works Board and their friends and neighbors.
3. Reviewed the scientific evidence: DMWW reviewed the decades of research related to fluoride. They also assessed the American Medical Association, the American Dental Association, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other leading health and medical organizations’ endorsements of fluoridation, and took them into account when deciding whether to continue adjusting the level of fluoride in the water system.
4. Continued protecting oral health: After reading the hundreds of written comments and holding hours of public discussions, the DMWW staff found that the data overwhelmingly supports continuing fluoridation to improve oral health and agreed with medical experts that fluoride does not pose a detectable health risk. As DMWW General Manager Bill Stowe told a packed boardroom during a recent meeting, “The long and short of it is we believe the scientific evidence in support of fluoridation for dental health purposes is very strong.”