The ongoing controversy over community water fluoridation is unlikely to go away despite a recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ruling that won praise from the American Dental Association (ADA) and similar groups.
The EPA denied a petition filed by groups seeking to ban the addition of fluoride to community water systems, a longtime practice aimed at reducing tooth decay. Critics of the practice, led by the Fluoride Action Network, contend that that fluoride supplementation poses neurotoxic risks to the U.S. population. Continue reading
It took engineering and fundraising efforts as well as years of work by oral health and children’s advocates, but the Santa Clara Water District is finally providing fluoridated tap water to large sections of San Jose, Calif.
The sprawling city, with a population of more than 1 million, had been known as the largest metropolitan jurisdiction in the nation that lacked a fluoridated drinking water program. The decay-fighting mineral will be phased into water supplies as upgrades to the city’s water treatment plants are completed. Continue reading
Tooth decay rates among children in Calgary, Canada have spiked in recent years.
The authors of two newly published studies say they suspect a decision by Calgary officials to discontinue the city’s water fluoridation program in 2011 could be to blame. Continue reading
Stressing that community water fluoridation remains an important tool in fighting tooth decay, public health officials have updated their recommendation for the “optimal” level of fluoride in drinking water nationwide.
The new standard, 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water, was announced on April 27 by the U.S. Department of Human Services.
The level replaces a recommended range of 0.7 mg to 1.2 mg of fluoride per liter of water in place since 1962.
The optimal level, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is considered to be when the amount fluoride in drinking water is adequate to help prevent tooth decay in children and adults while limiting risk of problems such as fluorosis, a discoloration or mottling of the tooth enamel that can be caused by exposure to too much fluoride. Continue reading
Image by Michael Coghlan via flickr.
Want to know more about innovative dental care programs reaching rural areas? Curious about oral health disparities in isolated communities? Looking for rural health contacts, programs or statistics for your state?
You might want to check out a Rural Oral Health Toolkit just launched by the Rural Assistance Center, a rural health information portal established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Rural Initiative.
The toolkit is primarily geared toward helping rural communities set up successful and sustainable oral health programs. But it might just as easily serve as a source of story ideas and background for journalists covering rural places.
On the site you can learn about initiatives such as the “Into the Mouths of Babes” program. It addresses the shortage of Medicaid dentists in rural North Carolina by training physicians to apply fluoride varnishes to the teeth of small children.
You also can find out more about mobile clinic programs that have been successfully bringing screenings, education and care to children in isolated communities from Louisiana to South Dakota. There are school-based, dental home, community outreach and workforce auxiliary models as well. Elsewhere on RAC’s site, you can locate directories for rural hospitals and federally qualified health centers and state-by-state listings for rural health care resources. Continue reading