Fact #5 Communities with Fluoridated Water Have Lower Rates of Tooth Decay
Some communities don’t have access to fluoridated water and when dental health is compared between fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities, the results show that rates of tooth decay are higher in the non-fluoridated communities.
The District of Columbia enjoys 100% water fluoridation closely followed by Kentucky with 99.9% and Illinois with 99.3%. Hawaii sits at the bottom of the league, with just 10.8% of its community water supplies benefiting from fluoride (2010 figures)..........
Can Steven or Ken explain how one article says Kentucky is enjoying the benefits of fluoridation when the article below reports Kentucky ranks high in tooth decay?
Study Highlights Prevalence of Tooth Decay in Kentucky Children
Tooth decay continues to rank as one of the most prevalent chronic childhood diseases, especially in the state of Kentucky. The Institute for Rural Health at Western Kentucky University completed a cross-sectional study in 2013, focusing on two main objectives in the bluegrass state: to assess socio-demographic differences between children affected and unaffected by decay, and to investigate the factors associated with the lack of treatment of this chronic condition. The Institute for Rural Health used mobile dental clinics to provide a school based sealant program to children between the ages of 6 and 15 and examined students’ teeth while doing so.
Shockingly, approximately fifty percent of the students in the study displayed tooth decay with an average of two cavities. Older children that lacked insurance and lived in rural areas had the highest percentages of tooth decay and the greatest severity. These findings suggest that major interventions are needed to reduce risk factors for children facing oral health disparities in locations like South Central Kentucky.
So, what does this study mean for kids in Kentucky? It means that we need to work hard to ensure children in low-income families have health insurance that includes dental coverage and that they have easy access to a dental provider who accepts their health insurance. We already know Kentucky has a high rate of toothlessness and that Kentuckians living in rural areas often have inadequate insurance and access to care. We also know many programs such as KCHIP,SMILE Kentucky and others have increased the availability of oral health coverage and care. But we need to look at additional opportunities to further improve the oral health of children across the state. We invite you to join the Kentucky Oral Health Coalition as we identify and seize opportunities to improve oral health together.
Read the article with the complete Institute for Rural Health study here.