Question: What remarkable community-based voluntary health measure has done the most to prevent tooth decay in the U.S. in the past 70 years?
Answer: Municipal water fluoridation!
Fluoride is a tooth’s best friend because it strengthens the enamel and can reverse demineralization. That’s why there is fluoride in toothpaste and fluoride treatments are performed during routine teeth cleanings at Mt. Vernon Center for Dentistry and other dental practices across the country.
Most water that comes from natural sources contains fluoride along with many other essential minerals. In 1945, Grand Rapids, Michigan became the first city to adjust the fluoride level in its municipal water supply to improve the dental health of its citizens. Since then, hundreds of U.S. communities have voluntarily adjusted the fluoride in their water supplies to recommended levels, delivering helpful dental benefits to millions of Americans.
This is from The Centers for Disease Control:
“Community water fluoridation is not only safe and effective, but it is also cost-saving and the least expensive way to deliver the benefits of fluoride to all residents of a community. For larger communities of more than 20,000 people, it costs about 50 cents per person to fluoridate the water. It is also cost-effective because every $1 invested in this preventive measure yields approximately $38 savings in dental treatment costs.”1
How do you know if your municipal water supply in Virginia is adjusted for the optimum fluoride level? Check your water bill for the phone number of your local water district and call their office. They can give you specifics on the levels of all the minerals in your water and whether the fluoride levels are adjusted to recommended levels for dental health.
Virginia families with wells can have their water tested at a laboratory. Contact your local health department for specifics on where to get your water tested.
If you have children and your municipal water supply does not contain the recommended level of fluoride, you may want to give your kids fluoride supplements. The fluoride will strengthen the primary teeth that have already erupted and also the adult teeth that are forming. Your Alexandria pediatrician or family doctor can prescribe fluoride supplements.
If your child hasn’t had a dental exam in a while, call Mt. Vernon Center for Dentistry at 703-360-5881 to schedule a dental exam. We are passionate about ensuring that our youngest patients feel safe and comfortable.
Mt. Vernon Center for Dentistry is located at 8101 Hinson Farm Rd Ste 114 in Alexandria. We serve the Alexandria and Mt. Vernon communities with distinctive dental care. We offer a full range of general and cosmetic dental procedures. Ask us about dental crowns, Invisalign, sedation dentistry and dental implants.
To read more about community water fluoridation, see http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/basics/index.htm
1“Fluoridation Basics,”The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/basics/index.htm, accessed on March 30, 2015