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What's in your water? Dental providers encouraged to look at local reports

April 10, 2017 Dental professionals are encouraged to check their community's annual Water Quality Reports or Consumer Confidence Reports, which water suppliers nationwide are required to make available each year prior to July 1.

The reports give consumers the chance to check on the status of their community's water, including its fluoride levels and details about quality and content of the water. Reports are often mailed to consumers' homes, often with a water bill, published in local newspapers or posted on community or water supplier websites.
 
"A provider needs to understand a patient's total fluoride exposure and fluoride in drinking water is the largest contributor to total fluoride exposure," said Kip Duchon, national fluoridation engineer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  "Annual Consumer Confidence Reports are the easiest source on actual fluoride levels that dentists can reference. I would encourage each dentist to request the annual consumer confidence reports from all the water systems serving the areas where patients in their practice live and verify that water system is in fact ensuring the best health outcome for the community by maintaining correct fluoride levels."
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires water systems to post these annual reports at EPA.gov/CCR. Consumers can also visit the "My Water's Fluoride" page on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website to check on local water system fluoridation status.
 
Community water fluoridation in the U.S. continues to grow. The most recent statistics from the CDC indicate that nearly 74.4 percent of the U.S. population on community water supplies — or about 211.4 million people — received the benefit of fluoridated water in 2014.
 
The ADA Council on Advocacy for Access and Prevention offers resources and training opportunities for dentists in communities working to initiate or retain fluoridation. For more details visit ADA.org/fluoride or contact Jane McGinley, CAAP's manager of fluoridation and preventive health activities, by emailing mcginleyj@ada.org.