Community Water Fluoridation Information for Water Operators

By Hollis Russinof, Manager, Campaign for Dental Health, American Academy of Pediatrics

Community water fluoridation (CWF) is one of the most important public health measures practiced in the U.S. today that is not administered by public health departments. Instead, it is our colleagues working in water utilities, large and small, who perform this important work.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) promotes the preventive benefits of CWF because dental disease, also known as caries or cavities, is the most common chronic disease of childhood. It is a preventable infectious disease that is often transmitted from caregiver to child. Community water fluoridation has been proven to prevent this disease by 25% or more, reducing painful and costly decay for both children and adults.

Public health departments can now take advantage of a new online resource designed to help water facility personnel answer public health and other questions about CWF. The Campaign for Dental Health, a program of the AAP, has launched a webpage for water operators and water facility personnel that also serves as a quick reference for health professionals in a variety of roles and settings.

Visit the webpage: https://ilikemyteeth.org/waterops/.

As public health professionals, we understand the important role CWF plays in oral health, and we also know that many people question it. When they do, they often contact their local public water utility. Unlike public health professionals, water operators, engineers, and utility staff are unprepared to address health promotion and disease prevention, much less the more challenging questions sometimes raised by fluoride opponents. That’s why we suggest local public health departments as a resource for water customers.

The new page provides concise information including links to easy-to-read information for water facility and public health personnel to share with customers and use to respond to questions. The page is organized into four sections, each with links to additional information.

  1. Community Water Fluoridation is Effective & Safe highlights the facts behind the public health benefits of CWF.
  2. About Fluoride & Fluoridation points to resources on the regulation of water safety and standards for fluoride additives.
  3. Fluoride & Health touches on health topics that are commonly raised for clarification.
  4. Specific Topics You May Encounter addresses frequently asked questions on cost, the environment, and other interesting topics.

Fluoridation is only a small portion of the important job water utilities perform to provide us with clean water. Help spread the word about the availability of this new resource. Get in touch with your local utility staff and thank them for the work they do to protect our teeth. Send them to https://ilikemyteeth.org/waterops/.

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