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Tap into fluoridation resources

New ADA toolkit offers comprehensive materials to help coalitions launch a fluoridation campaign

As the issue of community water fluoridation continues to bubble up in communities nationwide, the ADA has launched a new toolkit to help dental societies and local coalitions involved in initiating or trying to retain community water fluoridation programs.

Image: Dr. Hanck
Dr. Hanck

Tap in to Your Health: Fluoridation Toolkit, developed by experts from two ADA divisions and two volunteer advisory groups, contains 21 ready-to-use resources available to state and local dental societies.

“We know that since January 2011, communities in at least 43 states have faced activities to initiate, retain or defeat fluoridation—or a combination of these actions—and many of these campaigns required action on the part of ADA members and dental societies,” said Dr. John J. Hanck, chair of the National Fluoridation Advisory Committee and member of the ADA Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations. “NFAC and the Council on Communications Advisory Workgroup on Reputation Management worked collaboratively with CAPIR and Communications staff to put together this comprehensive set of resources that can be used to advocate for and educate about fluoridation.”

“This project represents the best of collaborations across the ADA, gathering strategies and information from many sources nationwide and combining them in an easy-to-use format that will maximize impact on policymakers and the public,” said Dr. W. Carter Brown, chair, ADA Council on Communications. “This toolkit will help local dental societies win the hearts and minds of decision-makers and the public on the benefits of community water fluoridation with accurate, credible information that is easy to present and easy to understand.”

Image: Dr. Brown
Dr. Brown
The resources contained in the toolkit, launched last month in conjunction with the annual ADA Management Conference, are already helping dental societies address fluoridation issues in their states.

Jay Dziwlik, assistant executive director for the Indiana Dental Association, has already put some of the toolkit’s resources to work in communities considering the issue of fluoridation.

“Indiana has four communities that, in the last six months, have questioned community fluoridation,” Mr. Dziwlik said. “Two of the four have ceased fluoridating. The fluoridation toolkit was information that the IDA could immediately put to use in local communities to educate public policymakers and dentists alike. IDA works closely with Indiana State Department of Health fluoridation staff and the materials in the toolkit are great for informing the local boards, publicly owned treatment works and dentists on the clear scientific benefits of continuing fluoridation.”

The kit includes:

  • an open file format of Fluoridation Facts, the ADA’s premier resource on community water fluoridation that provides users with peer-reviewed scientific evidence to answer frequently asked questions or respond to misconceptions about water fluoridation;
  • a PowerPoint presentation for use at city council meetings, public hearings or community meetings;
  • FAQs for the public and policymakers;
  • a sample press release, an opinion letter; a radio spot; talking points; case studies on pro- and antifluoridation activities; statements from groups that support fluoridation; tips for sharing fluoridation information via social media;
  • and much more.

Many materials can be customized with local statistics and information, providing users with easy-to-read, professional-looking materials that can be distributed to local policymakers and the public.

“We have included the resources that ADA members have identified as useful, very useful and extremely useful,” said Dr. Brown. “The toolkit is meant to evolve and grow as dental societies nationwide share information and materials they used in their fluoridation campaigns.”

For more details or to access toolkit components, contact your local or state dental society. For technical assistance with a fluoridation campaign, contact Jane McGinley at mcginleyj@ada.org or Sharon Clough at cloughs@ada.org.