More than 100 Government agencies and national and international professional health organizations support water fluoridation. These agencies include the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centres for Disease Control & Prevention, Health Canada and both the Canadian & American Dental Association among others. They all agreed that adding fluoride to drinking water at recommended levels ( 0.7 mg per litre of water ) reduces tooth decay. In Canada, trials proving this date back to 1945 in Brantford, Ontario. Over 50 years of extensive worldwide research has demonstrated the safety & effectiveness of water fluoridation in reducing the incidence of dental decay.
Today in Manitoba almost 95% of the population supplied by a public water supply source receive fluoridated water. Fluoride works both topically and systemically to prevent tooth decay by increasing the resistance of tooth enamel to dental decay. Fluoride has been proven over & over again to reduce dental decay in children by approximately 18 – 40%. With every $1.00 spent on adding fluoride to the public water supply it is estimated that $38.00 is saved in the cost of dental treatment.
Concerns by some suggest that water fluoridation is toxic and harmful. There is NO sound evidence to support these allegations. The recommended level of fluoride added to the water supply has a built-in margin of safety that takes into consideration the use of fluoride from other sources on the most vulnerable age group in the population ( 22 – 36 months ). Said additions of fluoride do not cause adverse health effects (such as cancer or a risk for bone fractures). Of the thousands of credible scientific studies on fluoridation, none has shown health problems associated with the consumption of optimally fluoridated water. Water fluoridation not only allows fluoride uptake by the enamel of the unerupted developing teeth but also provides fluoride uptake by the enamel of erupted teeth through saliva.
Not all countries provide their citizens with fluoride through water fluoridation. Instead, many countries choose to fluoridate their salt or milk instead. Other examples of additives used to achieve population wide health benefits include:
1) Iodine added to table salt to prevent thyroid disease
2) Vitamin D added to milk or juice to prevent rickets
3) Folic Acid added to flour to prevent birth defects.
Although water fluoridation has been proven to benefit all residents of the community, the population that MOST benefits are the seniors and the hardest to reach poor for whom other preventative measures may not be accessible.
Dental disease is the number one chronic disease among children and adolescents in North America. Water fluoridation is the most important public health measure used to effectively and inexpensively counteract the disease!
Dr Mitch Vodrey is a Winnipeg childrens Pediatric Dentist Specialist located in downtown Winnipeg in the Medical Arts building providing kids dental care for children. Visit us at http://www.drmitchvodrey.com/ for more details.