The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced today that three Iowa communities have been awarded fluoride certificates by the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors on behalf of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Dental Association (ADA). This award is presented in recognition of the contributions the water systems have made toward improving the health of their communities through water fluoridation over from 1966 through 2016.
The three communities receiving the 50 Year Award for maintaining continuous community water fluoridation are:
- Waterloo Water Works
- Northwood Water Works
- Muscatine Power and Water
The community of Oskaloosa was also recognized with a Water Fluoridation Community Initiative Award. This award is in recognition of the water system’s decision to initiate a water fluoridation program in 2016.
Fluoride is a natural mineral present in almost all water. Its benefits for teeth were discovered in the 1930s. Dental scientists found low tooth decay rates among people whose water supplies contained natural fluoride. Today, approximately 75 percent of Americans and 90 percent of Iowans served by community water systems have access to optimally fluoridated water. Even with the availability of other fluoride-containing products, fluoridated water prevents approximately 25 percent of tooth decay in children and adults.
The CDC has recognized community water fluoridation, the process of adjusting the fluoride concentration in water to the optimal level for preventing tooth decay, as one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th Century. It is supported by the U.S. Surgeon General, American Dental Association, American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American Public Health Association as a safe, effective, and inexpensive method of preventing tooth decay. Both Healthy People 2020 and Healthy Iowans have set goals to increase the number of people receiving fluoridated water.
IDPH is a strong supporter of fluoridation programs. The IDPH Bureau of Oral and Health Delivery Systems monitors the fluoride levels of Iowa communities and provides information and assistance to water supply professionals, healthcare professionals, and the public. To see the fluoridation status of Iowa counties and towns, visit https://nccd.cdc.gov/DOH_MWF/Default/Default.aspx.