Spokane takes a key step to fluoridate

Posted & filed under Children's Oral Health and Fluoride, Communities Supporting Fluoride.

In September, the city council in Spokane, Washington voted to approve a contract for a grant that puts 250,000 people on a path toward community water fluoridation (CWF). Spokane has the largest public water system in the state without the recommended level of fluoride for reducing the rate of tooth decay. Spokane; fluoridate; fluoridation

Dental health is a serious problem for many children or adults in Spokane. According to the regional health district, 1 in 5 Spokane third graders have experienced rampant decay, meaning seven or more teeth are decayed or have fillings. In addition, the pandemic has caused disruption of dental care and school-based dental services. As COVID-19 persists, communities with fluoridated water enable people at home to access a proven form of proven decay prevention.

The council’s decision instructs city officials to study the costs and logistics involved for Spokane to engage in CWF. Arcora Foundation*, a Seattle-based oral health philanthropic organization, has offered the city a $3 million grant to help Spokane fund the infrastructure costs for CWF. Nine other organizations have committed a total of roughly $1 million to assist the city with these costs.

On October 1, Mayor Nadine Woodward signed the contract to proceed with the cost study of CWF. A variety of milestones and deliverables are written into the contract.

CWF is a proven and smart return on investment. This 2016 study shows that the average savings in dental treatment exceeds $32 per-person, year after year. And that doesn’t even begin to measure time lost to school and work or to pain and suffering.

Congratulations to the people of Spokane, Washington.


*Arcora is a funder of the Campaign for Dental Health.