Kansas Ranked Last in Region

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released the 2012 water fluoridation statistics, measuring the number of people on public water systems who benefit from fluoridated drinking water. About 2.7 million Kansans rely on community water systems, but only 63.6 percent of them benefit from optimally fluoridated water. This means that over 1 million people who could be served by fluoride are not receiving this preventive public health intervention.

According to the CDC, “Water fluoridation prevents tooth decay mainly by providing teeth with frequent contact with low levels of fluoride throughout each day and throughout life. Even today, with other available sources of fluoride, studies show that water fluoridation reduces tooth decay by about 25 percent over a person’s lifetime.”

SEE ALSO: Parsons Group wants to end Fluoridation

The positive effects of fluoride–preventing and reversing tooth decay—are especially necessary for populations without regular access to oral health care. According to Dr. Paul Kittle, a pediatric dentist from Leavenworth, KS, “Cavities continue to increase in children, especially in those areas without water fluoridation, and lead to unnecessary pain, discomfort, absence from school, and significant costs to parents and society. “

“Water fluoridation is the single most effective public health measure in use today because of its unique ability to decrease the risk of dental cavities, the most common infectious disease in the world.”

Still, Kansas ranks 35th in the percentage of its population with optimally fluoridated water. Every surrounding state bested Kansas in the rankings—Missouri ranked 26th, Nebraska was 30th, Oklahoma was 32nd, Colorado came in at 28th and Iowa topped the list at 12th.

SEE ALSO: Fluoride in Kansas 

The data are compiled biennially from the CDC’s Water Fluoridation Reporting System (WFRS). States use the database to ensure the quality of their water fluoridation systems.