ADA urges Congress to include state, local fluoridation systems in infrastructure revitalization

Washington — The ADA is asking Congress to include state and local water fluoridation systems in legislation to revitalize the nation’s infrastructure.

In an April 30 letter to House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, ADA President Daniel J. Klemmedson, D.D.S., M.D., and Executive Director Kathleen T. O’Loughlin, D.M.D., urged lawmakers to include a “one-time supplemental infusion of funds” to help states and local municipalities revitalize their water fluoridation infrastructure.

“Doing so would be timely considering that a new water fluoridation technology — the first advancement in water fluoridation in decades — has just come to market,” Drs. Klemmedson and O’Loughlin said.

In the letter, Drs. Klemmedson and O’Loughlin pointed out that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has hailed community water fluoridation as one of 10 “great public health achievements of the 20th century” and noted, for over 75 years, fluoride has been “an effective, reliable and inexpensive way to reduce tooth decay by at least 25 percent in the population.” They also cited ADA data estimating that individuals can enjoy a lifetime of fluoridated water for less than the cost of one dental filling.

For the last several years, the CDC has used its Small Business Innovation Research funding authority to develop a less costly option to expand water fluoridation, particularly in rural areas.

“In February, this new technology — the sodium fluorosilicate tablet system — came to fruition. It has now met all of the agency’s safety and effectiveness criteria to enable its widespread adoption,” Drs. Klemmedson and O’Loughlin wrote.

They told lawmakers that the new tablet fluoridation technology is less expensive for municipalities to purchase and maintain and it also uses less floor space, allowing water agencies to repurpose areas that traditional fluoridation systems would ordinarily occupy. The new technology also extends the benefits of water fluoridation to rural communities, where the cost of traditional fluoridation systems has been prohibitive.

“The CDC deserves tremendous credit for using its [Small Business Innovation Research] program to develop this new technology,” Drs. Klemmedson and O’Loughlin said. “We applaud the forward thinking of our colleagues at the Division of Oral Health, and we hope the taxpayers’ investment in developing this new technology will be realized throughout the country.”

“We respectfully urge you to include a one-time supplemental infusion of funds to help states and localities revitalize their water fluoridation systems,” the letter concluded. “Doing so will reduce the need for costly dental care, particularly in areas where the cost of community water fluoridation has traditionally been prohibitive. A sudden demand for this new technology may also inspire companies hire new workers for its manufacture.”

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