It is easy to take for granted that community water fluoridation (CWF) in the US is a widespread, safe, and proven public health practice. So it can come as a shock to local health advocates and concerned citizens alike when fluoride opponents try to remove fluoride from the water supply.
In just the last few months, communities from Alaska to Massachusetts have faced this very situation. And they have decided to keep the health benefits associated with adjusting fluoride levels in their public water systems to the ideal level. Below is a quick snap shot of communities that have recently voted to continue community water fluoridation:
• Last week, the Wayland, Massachusetts Board of Health voted 3-1 to continue fluoridating its water system, and agreed to set the fluoride level at 0.7 parts per million (ppm), as the US Department of Health and Human Services has proposed. Wayland joins four other cities in Massachusetts (Duxbury, Lincoln, Templeton, and Scituate) that voted earlier this year to continue fluoridating their water.
• On September 10, the Anchorage, Alaska Assembly approved a resolution to maintain its water fluoridation effort by an overwhelming vote of 9-2. The Assembly cited data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing that children in rural Alaskan villages that do not fluoridate their water supplies have three times more cavities than those in villages with fluoridation.
• The county health board in Salina, Kansas recommended on August 28 that the city continue investing in fluoridation to protect its residents’ teeth, as it has done since 1968.
• City Council members in The Dalles, Oregon voted to continue fluoridation’s proven health benefits in July. The Council heard testimony from a number of health experts who explained that The Dalles had far lower tooth decay rates than nearby Hood River, a town that does not adjust the fluoride in its water.
• In June, two of the largest cities in North Carolina agreed to continue their support for fluoridation. The water authority serving Chapel Hill and the Durham County Board of Health both officially endorsed the benefits of fluoridation.
Congratulations to these communities and keep up the good work! If your community is considering whether to continue ensuring the public water system includes the right level of fluoride to protect teeth, we have resources to help you! Visit ILikeMyTeeth.org to download advocacy resources that will help you share the demonstrated benefits of fluoride and check out our page on The Fluoride Trend for more information on the steady expansion of CWF in the United States.