Thursday, September 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Fluoridation: a wise investment in our community’s health

By Julie Gallelo, Art Pimentel and Dan Wolk

The partnership between Davis and Woodland on our surface water project provides both communities the most cost-effective solution to do what we should have done years ago: fluoridate our water.

Dental disease is a problem in our collective community. It affects everyone from children to seniors. In 2011-12, the CommuniCare Smile Savers program found 26 percent of the nearly 400 low-income preschool children screened from the cities of Davis and Woodland have active dental disease. These are children in our community who don’t have access to proper dental care or other preventative dental measures. Even with all the advancements in dental hygiene and standards of living over the recent decades, we still have a major problem on our hands.

Currently, through the good work of our local dentists and CommuniCare’s free dental clinics, we have a dental disease treatment program. However, this only addresses dental disease — a lifetime problem with no cure — once it has already developed. As such, to effectively address dental disease and positively impact the public health of our community, we need to shift our focus to prevention. And the most effective way to do so is through fluoridation.

Since the mid-20th century, community water fluoridation — the careful adjustment of naturally occurring fluoride levels in water to strengthen tooth enamel and reduce dental decay — has proved to be an effective preventative public health measure, reducing tooth decay by about 25 percent over a lifetime, per the American Dental Association.

Across the nation, more than 70 percent of people utilize community fluoridation, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, fluoridation is mandated by state law, if funds are available. And, right next door, the citizens of West Sacramento, Vacaville and Sacramento, to name a few, enjoy the benefits of fluoridated water every day. Pediatricians in Davis prescribe fluoride drops to parents to give to their children.

Today, Yolo County’s public health community — dentists, pediatricians, public health officials and every major, local health care provider — is united in support of community water fluoridation in Davis and Woodland. These are the folks who are on the front lines of combating dental disease. They know what policies work and what do not.

If we move past the specious arguments that a carefully calibrated amount of fluoride is harmful, all the proposed alternatives to fluoridation are simply not as effective. The fundamental problem is one of reaching those who are not practicing good dental hygiene. Not everyone brushes correctly with fluoridated toothpaste, not everyone flosses and not everyone goes in for two cleanings a year. We do not have the ability to bring dentists and hygienists twice a year into each home that needs it. But most everyone, particularly children, drinks tap water.

And then there is the argument about costs and that fluoridation does not make financial sense. Fluoride, of course, is not free. According to initial estimates, fluoridation could cost as much as $2 million in initial capital costs. After that, the ongoing costs would be less than $2 per month per household.

Although it may seem like a lot, cost should not be a reason to reject fluoridation, for two main reasons:

* First, with responsive bids on the joint water project required to come in 20 percent below the engineer’s estimate, upon which we based our rates, rates most likely would not have to increase further to accommodate fluoridation.

* Second, fluoridation is worth the cost, regardless of whether rates rise or not. The American Dental Association estimates that for every dollar invested in water fluoridation, $38 is saved in dental treatment, missed work and other costs. This is a classic example of an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure — an expensive, painful cure at that.

One of the primary purposes of government and its policymakers is to help the most vulnerable in our society. Fluoride does just that — in a cost-effective manner. We hope you agree.

— Julie Gallelo is the executive director of First 5 Yolo, Art Pimentel is the former mayor of Woodland and Dan Wolk is the mayor pro tem of Davis.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    Jurors see Marsh questioned by police

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

     
    Grace Garden: Five years of feeding the needy

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

     
    For the record

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Bike sale on Friday will benefit King High

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A2

     
    Wildfire shows explosive growth

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Per Capita Davis: What to think

    By John Mott-Smith | From Page: A3

    International Festival moves to park for fourth year

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Essay contest underway

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Sudwerk Wet Hop Lager plants seeds for area hops rebirth

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Speakers plumb issues around the Constitution

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Governor signs bill to support state’s ailing bee population

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Backyard poultry symposium Sunday at UCD

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A5

    Forum will answer questions about new license law

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Australian pop band Dick Diver plays Third Space

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    RepowerYolo hosts solar seminar

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Local Girl Scouts are looking for a few good leaders

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A5

    Reneau, Silberstein will read their poetry Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Parents host campaign coffees for Archer

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Nominate deserving volunteers for top citizen honors

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    PG&E, Dixon company unveil truck that can restore power

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    $12M earmarked for UCD life sciences center in Chile

    By Karen Nikos-Rose | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Forum

    She’s had it with his neglect

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Off-leash dogs are a danger

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Davis makes the NY Times

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Affordable housing affects health

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Choose to wipe out hunger

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    DHS girls pound Mustangs in the pool

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Davis captures final nonleague volleyball outing

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    DHS golfers blow past St. Francis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devils blow out Marauders at Brown Stadium

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Youth softball: Hurricanes win one of two slugfests with Woodland

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Youth roundup: These Diamonds are forever in the record books

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Baseball roundup: Duffy comes up big for Giants in Arizona

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    Young Devil harriers carry the day

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

    Davis falls to Vintage in a JV shootout

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B3

     
    DHS girls tennis team stunned at Franklin

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    What’s happening, Sept. 18

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

     
    Students get into the act with Shakespeare

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Street-smart tips for safe cycling

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

     
    Eagle Scout project makes life easier for Yolo Basin volunteers

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    .

    Arts

     
    Wineaux: Back and forth in the high and low debate

    By Susan Leonardi | From Page: A9

    Catie Curtis brings folk-rock ‘Flying Dream’ to The Palms on Friday Sept. 19

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Jean Botelli

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, September 18, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6