For many children, community water fluoridation (CWF) is the last line of defense against tooth decay. Tooth decay is the number one chronic disease of childhood. It is a ‘silent epidemic’. Many people don’t know that this disease is preventable. The toll is high, especially on kids from underserved communities.
A 2002 study found that CWF reduces the gap in decay rates between low-income and upper-income Americans. The CDC says it’s the most cost-effective method of prevention for people, regardless of age, education, or income level.
Fluoride occurs naturally in all water. Water is “fluoridated” when a public water system adjusts the fluoride to a level that prevents tooth decay. Fluoride reduces decay by strengthening tooth enamel. This is important because the enamel on baby teeth is especially thin.
The CDC reports that CWF helps prevent tooth decay in children and adults by as much as 25% over a person’s life. Today about three-quarters of Coloradans have access to CWF.
The Campaign for Dental Health reports that in 2003 Colorado saved about $149 million in dental treatment costs through CWF. The average savings was roughly $61 per person.
Fluoridated water has been scientifically established as safe for drinking. Studies have shown that it is why dental costs are lower. Oral health problems have also declined in fluoridated communities.
There are many efforts in Colorado to reduce and prevent tooth decay. For over 70 years, CWF has been a vital part of this work.
At Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation, our mission is to eradicate childhood tooth decay. We support CWF for all Coloradans. We hope Denver Water remains committed to this evidence-based approach to preventing tooth decay. Make sure you and your children are drinking plenty of tap water to maintain good overall health.
For more information, visit ilikemyteeth.org.