New U.S, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics show that nearly 75% of the entire U.S. population now have access to fluoridated water as a result of a nationwide initiative first introduced in Michigan back in 1945. While fluoride (it’s actually a mineral) exists naturally in most water supplies, the amount is not normally enough to prevent tooth decay. For this reason, most communities adjust the fluoride levels in their water supply. The CDC has said that adding optimum fluoride levels to community water is “one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.” They rank the introduction of fluoride along with other nationwide efforts such as motor vehicle safety, immunization and tobacco control.
Last year marked the 70th anniversary of community water fluoridation. The Surgeon General explains that fluoride protects teeth from decay by strengthening teeth and supporting tooth enamel. Water fluoridation saves money for health care systems. Families see fewer cavities which translates to fewer fillings or tooth removal.
The American Academy of Pediatrics as well as the American Dental Association (ADA) both recommend fluoride toothpaste (pea-sized for ages three and up) to also help prevent cavities. They also say that daily oral fluoride supplements can be helpful if your community’s water is not fluoridated.
Interested in learning more? The ADA lists the Surgeon General‘s video and other interesting fluoride tidbits on their website. Be sure to talk to your Williamsburg Dental dentist if you have any other fluoride questions or concerns.