Don't vote fluoride out
The Nebraska Unicameral passed LB245 in 2008 that requires cities with a population of more than 1,000 people to provide fluoride in the drinking water. The optimum level of fluoride to provide strong teeth and good oral health is 1 to 1.3 parts per million (ppm). LB245 requires that cities provide fluoridation between 0.8 and 1.5 ppm for their drinking water. Cities that have a natural occurring level of fluoride of 0.7 ppm do not need to provide any additional fluoride. Fluoride naturally occurs in all water at varying levels.
Providing fluoride in the drinking water is an effective, safe and inexpensive way to prevent tooth decay. Fluoride increases and hardens the enamel on the teeth and makes it more resistant to decay-causing acid. Studies show that people who drink optimally fluoridated water from birth have 40 percent less decay over their lifetime. The American Dental Association has stated that fluoride benefits people of all ages.
Per the American Dental Association: "Water fluoridation contributes much more to overall health than simply reducing dental decay: it prevents needless infection, pain, suffering and loss of teeth; improves the quality of life and saves vast sums of money in dental treatment costs."
The Center for Disease Control has conducted research on the cost savings for communities that provide fluoride in their water systems. CDC found under typical conditions that for communities under 5,000 people they would save $16 per-person annually. This analysis takes into account the costs of installing and maintaining necessary equipment and operating equipment, the expected effectiveness of fluoridation, estimates of expected cavities in non-fluoridated communities, treatment of cavities, and time lost visiting the dentist for treatment.
The cost for a community to provide fluoridation varies depending on the number of sites needed. The typical cost per site is approximately $3,000. An estimate of operating cost is 10 percent of the cost of installation.
Fluoridation of drinking water is considered one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. Fluoridation has been successfully used for over 50 years. Currently 67 percent of the population on public water supplies receives fluoridated water, or more than 170 million people.
Everyone is concerned about the high cost of medical treatment or insurance. Providing fluoride as a preventive measure reduces those costs plus improves the quality of life for all citizens. Vote not to opt out of providing fluoride.
More information may be found at the CDC Web site http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/ or by contacting Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department (308) 345-4223 or (888) 345-4223 via e-mail info@swhealth dept.com, or www.swhealth dept.com. Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department serves Chase, Dundy, Frontier, Furnas, Hayes, Hitchcock, Perkins and Red Willow counties.
Mark R Graf,