National Children’s Dental Health Month in February is an appropriate time to raise awareness about the importance of oral health.
In addition to encouraging regular dental checkups, one of the most important things we can do as a community to promote oral health in children and adults alike is fluoridation of public drinking water.
It is safe and effective and cuts tooth decay by up to 40 percent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet the fluoridation rate is only 75 percent in the United States and 54 percent in Pennsylvania.
In Allegheny County, the story is much better thanks to the vast majority of communities that have been fluoridating public water supplies for decades. Ninety percent of our residents have fluoridated water.
While only 10 percent do not, it’s still 115,000 people who remain unprotected against tooth decay because their communities choose not to fluoridate their drinking water. Let’s give this protection to everyone.
LARRY KANTERMAN, D.D.S.
Allegheny County Health Department