Although three out of four Americans on public water supplies benefit from fluoridation, the misinformation about fluoridation is far too prevalent. Therefore, science-based decision making is important for educating our communities.
I, along with Dr. Alwafi Abdulraheem, wrote a study published in the fall 2017 issue of the Journal of the Massachusetts Dental Society that showed anti-fluoridation activities on the internet and social media were predominately against fluoridation: 94% on social media, including YouTube, and 2-to-1 on website hits. Thousands of Americans are being misinformed every day. Dental professionals can best combat this by educating their patients every day.
What can you do?
Be familiar with ASDA’s I-1 fluoridation policy, which encourages the fluoridation of community water supplies as a scientifically proven safe and effective means of preventing dental decay as recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service.
Educate all of your patients about the health and economic benefits of community water fluoridation. Show them the scientific literature if needed. Provide the best evidence-based quality care you can to meet the needs of your patients. Spend time educating them on how to improve their oral health knowledge, skills and behavior.
If your patients comes from a fluoridated community, let them know they are fortunate because they will have less tooth decay and infections, and lower dental bills.
If your patients come from a non-fluoridated community, educate them about the benefits of fluoridation. Help them achieve fluoridation by becoming involved with community advocates. If every dental student in your school did this with every new patient and during recall visits, they will make an enormous impact on the oral health of that community.
Get involved when you become a dentist, whether it is through organized dentistry, a local board of health, the PTA, the school board or a community organization.
You will be among the most educated in your community. Don’t let that go to waste by just using your knowledge in your office. Get involved. Give back. Keep up with evidence-based studies. You have a remarkable opportunity to pay it forward based on your knowledge and regardless of your debt. Invest in and take advantage of the opportunities to serve society not only in your practice but in your community as well.
Read more about Dr. Allukian in the May 2019 issue of Contour magazine.
~Dr. Myron Allukian Jr., MPH