Flouride saves in future dental costs

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Be aware of misinformation, junk science, dental professionals say

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The Texas Dental Association (TDA), chartered in 1871, is the third largest state dental association in the United States. The TDA is part of a tri-partite affiliation with the American Dental Association as its national representative and its component societies at the local level.

On behalf of more than 9,000 members of the TDA, we are writing to express our support of community water fluoridation in Fredericksburg.

Myths about fluoridation are often cited in petitions to cease community water fluoridation. We would like to emphasize a few important points related to the oral health benefits of community water fluoridation.

• For most cities, every $1 invested in water fluoridation yields $38 savings in dental treatment costs. A recent study shows cavities-related treatment costs increased 28 to 111 percent when fluoridation was removed from a community water system.

• Fluoridation of community water supplies is the single most effective public health measure to prevent dental decay.

• Valid scientific and epidemiological studies, as well as practical experience over that time period, have shown fluoridation to be safe. During that time, we’ve learned that fluoridation prevents tooth decay in all age groups, not just in children.

• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has proclaimed community water fluoridation (along with vaccinations and infectious disease control) as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.

• More than 125 national and international health, service and professional organizations recognize the public health benefits of community water fluoridation for preventing dental decay.

• Studies prove water fluoridation continues to be effective in reducing dental decay by 20-40 percent, even in an era with widespread availability of fluoride from other sources, such as fluoride toothpaste.

• Community water fluoridation benefits everyone, especially those without access to regular dental care. It is the most efficient way to prevent one of the most common childhood diseases — dental decay (five times as common as asthma and seven times as common as hay fever in 5-to-17-year-olds). Without fluoridation, there would be many more than the estimated 51 million school hours lost per year in this country because of dental-related illness.

• Simply by drinking water, people can benefit from fluoridation’s cavity protection whether they are at home, work or school.

•Fluoridation has been thoroughly tested in the United States’ court system, and found to be a proper means of furthering public health and welfare. No court of last resort has ever determined fluoridation to be unlawful.

• Be aware of misinformation on the Internet and other junk science related to water fluoridation.

• One of the most widely respected sources for information regarding fluoridation and fluorides is the American Dental Association (ADA). The ADA maintains fluoride and fluoridation web pages at http://www.ada.org/fluoride.aspx.

We urge residents and local officials and agencies to continue to support community water fluoridation in Fredericksburg. The costeffective treatment will provide everlasting oral health benefits to the entire community.

William H. Gerlach, D.D.S.

President, Texas Dental

Association

W. Kurt Loveless, D.D.S.

Chair, Texas Dental Association Community Fluoride Committee