More than 20% of children who attend the Crawford County School District at any time have untreated dental cavities. Poor oral health in children can mean that they are experiencing chronic pain which can lead to poor sleep patterns, decreased attention, poor performance in schools, and behavioral issues. Untreated dental cavities among children aged 6 to 8 years old in northwestern Pennsylvania are around 45.9%, while the total for the state of Pennsylvania is around 27.2% and the national average around 29%.
Adults and children who lack preventive oral care or dental insurance often end up in the emergency room for expensive treatments that cost our community through increased premiums on our insurance. Oral complaints have been the most common reasons for emergency room visits to the Meadville Medical Center for the several years.
Fluoridating community water supplies is the most effective evidence-based practice to prevent dental cavities. Community water fluoridation has been recognized as one of the top 10 public health successess of the 20th Century, along with motor vehicle safety and recognition of tobacco as a health hazard. Science and experience have proven its safety and it is endorsed by all of the major medical and scientific organizations.
Fluoridation is also inexpensive. Fluoridation for the Meadville Area Water Authority (MAWA) system would cost approximately 24 cents per household per month, approximately $2.88 per year. Estimates report that for each $1 that is spent of fluoridation, $38 is saved in dental services.
Meadville and the surrounding areas are in need of basic, preventative dental health improvement. Meadville Smiles aims to educate our community and assure access to the recommended level of community water fluoridation.
Over 100 national, state, and local organizations endorse water fluoridation, some of which include:
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention
- American Dental Association
- American Medical Association
- World Health Organization.
Learn more about fluoridation endorsements.