Letter to the Editor: Dental hygienist favors fluoridation

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Dear Editor:
My name is Kari Brennan and I am a registered dental hygienist. I have seen the positive effects of optimal water fluoridation and the negative effects of non-fluoridated water communities and decay rates.

I work in a community health center and have worked in school programs to see the effects first hand.
I understand there are some concerns with handling the fluoride and the equipment to add it to the water. I also understand that there are grants and funding out there to help with the cost of upgrading the equipment and the safety.
Why should that be the deterrent to adding fluoride to the water? The benefits far outweigh the risk if the use is at proper levels and the process is safe.
Meeker needs to figure out how to get the funding to upgrade equipment and training so the operators feel safe and that it is not such a headache to do.
Top 10 reasons to Fluoridate Public Water
1. It is the single-most effective publish health measure to prevent tooth decay. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have proclaimed community water fluoridation one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.
2. It’s natural. Fluoride is already present in all water sources, even the oceans. Water fluoridation is simply the adjustment of fluoride levels that occurs naturally to a recommended level for preventing tooth decay.
3. It is similar to fortifying other foods and beverages. Water that has been fluoridated is similar to fortifying salt with iodine, milk with vitamin D, orange juice with calcium and bread with folic acid.
4. It prevents dental disease. It is the most efficient way to prevent one of the most common childhood disease — dental decay. An estimated 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental-related illnesses.
5. It protects all ages against cavities. Studies show that community water fluoridation prevents at least 25 percent of tooth decay in children and adults, even in an era with widespread availability of fluoride from other sources, such as fluoride toothpaste.
6. It is safe and effective. For more than 65 years, the best available scientific evidence consistently indicates that community water fluoridation is safe and effective.
7. It saves money. The average lifetime cost per person to fluoridate a water supply is less than the cost of one dental filling. For most cities, every $1 invested in water fluoridation saves $38 in dental treatment costs.
8. Fluoridation is recognized by more that 100 organizations. The American Dental Association (ADA) as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization and more that 125 national and international organizations recognize the public health benefits of water fluoridation for preventing dental decay.
9. Availability of fluoridation continues to grow. In 2010, 73.9 percent of the U.S. population on public water systems (204.3 million people) received fluoridated water. This is an increase of almost 9 percent from 2000. The Healthy People 2020 goal is for 79.6 percent of the population of public water systems to have access to fluoridated water.
10. Endorsed by the American Dental Association. One of the most widely respected sources for information regarding fluoridation is the American Dental Association. Learn more on the ADA’s website at ADA.org/fluoride.
Before we jump to getting the fluoride out of our water supply because of “health risks” or “poison control,” I suggest researching the credible studies and credible websites.
The CDC, ADA, AMA, WHO… etc. are credible and avoid negative statements or information that is not scientifically researched and supported. Science is the foundation of medicine.
Please consider the benefits and the concerns with the town operators that work with the product closely. Address the real issue of upgrading the equipment and monitoring system to better accommodate the process.
Like anything, used in moderation, it is safe and effective!
Kari Brennan
Registered Dental Hygienist