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Eight former leaders in U.S. Public Health Service affirm support of water fluoridation

Officers hail ‘the great equalizer in prevention of dental caries’ during 75th anniversary commemoration

July 15, 2020

By David Burger

 Image of 75th Anniversary Community Water Fluoridation Celebration - ADA logo
In honor of the 75th anniversary of community water fluoridation, eight former chief dental officers of the U.S. Public Health Service signed a July 7 letter of support for the program, which they said is “the great equalizer in prevention of dental caries because all individuals regardless of income or education are able to access their public tap water.”

Dr. Leon Stanislav, chair of the ADA National Fluoridation Advisory Committee, hailed the public show of support.

“I was extremely pleased to see the statement,” Dr. Stanislav said. “Those eight chief dental officers have a combined 350 years of public health experience. Surgeons general have praised the benefits of community water fluoridation for decades. The U.S. Public Health Service has been fundamental in the understanding, the implementation and the continuance of the single-best way to combat one of mankind's most prevalent diseases commonly known as tooth decay, saving untold misery and suffering over the past 75 years, for which we should all be grateful.”  

The eight former chief dental officers are Drs. Nicholas S. Makrides, William D. Bailey, Christopher G. Halliday, Dushanka V. Kleinman, William R. Maas, Stephen B. Corbin, Robert J. Collins and Robert E. Mecklenburg. All are retired rear admirals of the U.S. Public Health Service.

“As the former chief dental officers of the USPHS, we have spent our entire careers dedicated to improving the nation’s oral health,” the officers said in the letter. “Please join us in resolving to support [community water fluoridation], one of the greatest public health achievements and a cornerstone to the prevention of dental caries and improvement of both oral health and overall health.”

For more information on fluoride and ADA advocacy of community water fluoride, visit ADA.org/fluoride.