As parents we do everything we can to protect our kids from getting hurt. We take them to doctors and dentists, we make sure they’re up-to-date on immunizations and do our best to make sure their needs are met. A huge advantage our children have that we as parents did not have when we were growing up in the 1950”s is fluoridated water. If your kids passed their most recent dental exam with flying colors it was probably because they have access to fluoridated water.
Its importance cannot be denied. Just ask the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to their statistics, fluoridation was one of the 10 most valuable public health measures of the 20th century. So if you lived in New York City and were born in 1964 or after, you had access to fluoridated water thanks to its introduction into the New York City water supply. As city after city adopted the practice, the CDC saw a 60 percent drop in tooth decay among the young. Soon after, 70 percent of towns and cities across the U.S. adopted the measure and it has been conclusively proven to significantly reduce the rate of tooth decay in adults as well as children.
The Ripple Effect
Even those folks who did not live in fluoridated communities soon receive fluoride through drinks and food prepared elsewhere. For every $1 invested in fluoridation, it has saved over $38 in dental treatment according to the CDC. Even with those numbers, not everyone was convinced that fluoridation was a good idea. Some even labeled it a communists plot; others an unconstitutional form of mass medication. Some accused fluoride of being the cause behind some truly horrific diseases such as cancer, Downs syndrome, Alzheimer’s and mental illness. Of course none of these risks have ever been substantiated in actual scientific studies.
The Ripple Reverses
The fact is that fluoridated water gives the most disadvantaged in our population the greatest benefit. In spite of that, recently over 200 communities are looking to save funds by stopping the delivery of fluoride to their public water supplies. Unfortunately, people who are poor or have limited access to regular dental care stand to lose the most from this ill-conceived action.
Ironically, some of us are just plain lucky since their naturally occurring well or public water is already geologically fluoridated. If you are already using well water and you’re not sure, you can easily get it tested. For more information about getting your water supply tested for fluoride, check out this information located on the CDC website.
That’s all for today!
Dr. Mark W. Langberg, DDS, MAGD
26206 West 12 Mile Road, Suite 303
Southfield, MI 48034