- Editor's Note: The Yorktown Town Board will hold an informational hearing on Jan. 22 at Town Hall to consider whether the town of Yorktown’s practice of adding fluoride to the drinking water supply should be discontinued
- Carl Tegtmeier, DMD, a Yorktown resident, has submitted to Patch the following guest commentary.
On Jan. 22, at 7:30 p.m., the Yorktown Town Board will hold an information hearing on whether the town should continue its current practice of fluoridating its drinking water supply, something the town has been doing since 1965 without any controversy and without any problems to the public.
To date, 55 Yorktown dentists and pediatricians have communicated their support for fluoridation to the Town Board. From a public health perspective, continuing fluoridation is a win-win for our residents with stronger teeth and bones, less cavities and saving residents money overall.
After 65 years of research involving thousands of studies published in respected scientific Journals, the full weight of evidence indicates that fluoridation, when used at levels known to promote oral health, iseffective in reducing dental decay and is safe.
These rigorous scientific studies have been conducted and peer reviewed by experts in the fields of oralhealth, medicine, biophysics, chemistry, toxicological pathology, and epidemiology.
Over 100 respected national and international organizations involved in fostering public health support fluoridation. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called fluoridation one of the “great public health achievements of the 20th century.”
Here are just some of the facts
- As of 2010, 74% of the U.S. population received fluoridated drinking water.
- 42 of largest 50 cities in the US, including New York City, fluoridate their water supply.
- Much of Westchester County fluoridates its water supply.
- Studies have shown that fluoridation reduces tooth decay by 20 to 40 percent.
- Fluoridation provides benefits to all age groups, including older adults.
- Fluoride in toothpaste does not provide full protection against decay; fluoride in water builds on what’s in toothpaste.
- Fluoridation offers the greatest return-on-investment of any public health strategy and provides savings to both governments and citizens.
- In most cities, every $1 invested in fluoridation saves $38 in unnecessary dental treatment costs.
- Fewer cavities reduce Medicaid costs, paid for by all county and state taxpayers.
- Fewer cavities reduce out-of-pocket dental bills, especially for individuals and families without dental insurance and senior citizens on fixed incomes.
- Adding fluoride to a public water supply costs taxpayers much less than having to pay for doctor prescribed fluoride supplements.
- Fewer cavities mean less time is lost from work and school for dental visits.
- Fewer cavities mean less pain and suffering.
More information about the benefits and safety of fluoridation will be presented at the Jan. 22 hearing. I hope you’ll be able to attend.
Carl H. Tegtmeier, D.M.D.
Chairman, Dental Health Planning & Hospital Dentistry Committee, Ninth District Dental Association (the local component of the American Dental Association)