“Water fluoridation benefits both children and adults by preventing tooth decay,” said Christine Veschusio, director of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control's Division of Oral Health. “Fluoridation is the adjustment of fluoride in the water to a level that is most effective in preventing tooth decay. The award recognizes those water systems that have maintained a consistent level of optimally fluoridated water for 50 consecutive years. DHEC and the South Carolina Dental Association want to recognize these systems for their water fluoridation efforts.”
Veschusio said the 12 systems being recognized include the cities of Aiken, Darlington, Hartsville, Kershaw, Lancaster, Cayce, Marion, Union, Rock Hill along with McCormick Commission of Public Works, Orangeburg Department of Public Utilities and Shaw Air Force Base.
Veschusio said the American Dental Association supports water fluoridation and urges that its benefits be extended to communities served by centralized water systems. More than 100 national and international organizations recognize the public health benefit of fluoridation, including the American and Canadian Dental Associations, the U.S. Public Health Service, the American Medial Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization.
“Community water fluoridation has also been recognized by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th Century,” she said. “The CDC recommends water fluoridation as a safe, effective and inexpensive method of preventing tooth decay. Studies have shown that fluoridation prevents tooth decay among all age groups, not just children.”
Veschusio said in 2001, the U.S. Task Force on Community Preventive Services recommended communities adopt or maintain fluoridation of public drinking water supplies. More than 170 million people, or 67 percent of the U. S. population served by public water supplies, drink water with optimal fluoride levels for preventing decay.