Letter to the Editor


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Keep fluoride in water

The Iowa City City Council is scheduled to hold hearings on March 22 on the possibility of eliminating fluoride from the city’s water system. The Iowa Department of Public Health Bureau of Oral Health joins the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in urging the retention of fluoride in the city water system.

Fluoride was first added to a public water system 65 years ago in Grand Rapids, Mich. In 1930, fluoride’s oral-health benefits were discovered. Since that time, numerous scientific studies and comprehensive reviews have recognized fluoride as an important nutrient for strong healthy teeth and as a safe, cost-effective way to prevent tooth decay.

All residents of a community can enjoy its protective benefit simply by consuming foods and beverages prepared with fluoridated water. A person’s income level or ability to receive routine dental care is not a barrier to receiving its health benefits.

Although significant progress has been made, fluoridation is still underused in many parts of the country — only 27 states provide water fluoridation to more than 75 percent of the state’s residents on public water systems. There are currently 245 public water systems in Iowa that adjust fluoride. The Iowa Public Health Department urges the Iowa City City Council to remain in that number.

Bob Russell
Iowa Department of Public Health

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