Journal of Public Health Dentistry August 30, 1979

To the Editor:

Your “Random Musings About Fluoridation” in the spring issue of the Journal should cause excitement among public health dentists working in the Southwest. In the fifth paragraph you ask, “And other than a couple of studies 15-20 years ago, don’t we need to know more specifics of the lifelong benefits of fluoridation? For example, at age 60 or 70 how many dentures have been prevented? How many teeth have been saved?” Many communities in the Southwest have been naturally optimally fluoridated for more than 70 years. For instance, much of Los Angeles became optimally fluoridated in 1913 upon completion of the Owens River Aqueduct. This condition continued until 1940 when the Crowley Lake Reservoir became part of the Aqueduct system. Since that time, Aqueduct water has remained significantly sub-optimally fluoridated. Therefore, Los Angelenos born prior to 1940 and since 1913 would provide ideal subjeets for a study to provide data t o compare with data gathered from subjects who have not benefitted from optimally fluoridated water from birth. This second group could also be found in the environment of the Southwest. Because of the naturally fluoridated waters and because of the distance from the Northeastern centers of dental research, the Southwest has not participated in significant studies of dental disease prevention. As the country becomes fluoridated to a greater degree, it would be well for the National Caries Program of the National Institute of Dental Research to turn its attention to possible therapies to further diminish dental caries “after fluoridation.” The Southwest offers a fertile ground for such studies in that the naturally fluoridated waters have a longer history of caries prevention than d o the waters of communities who adjusted fluoridation levels in the 1950s. The Department of Water and Power of the city of Los Angeles has maintained records of the level of fluoride back to the turn of the century. This may be unique to the entire Southwest as well as to the United States. Oftentimes, generalities made concerning national dental disease prevalence make little sense to us in the Southwest. We hope to become part of the national attempt to further diminish dental disease. Norman D. Spears, D.D.S., M.S. Assistant Clinical Professor University of Southern California School of Dentistry Los Angeles, CA 90401 NDS:cb


And the Editor replies First, your editor lived for eight years in the Southwest and studied fluorides and endemic fluorides and climate extensively in field studies. Now, given that information and background, he maintains that his questions should still be answered. -DFS

Random musings about fluoridation.

250 Journal of Public Health Dentistry August 30, 1979 To the Editor: Your “Random Musings About Fluoridation” in the spring issue of the Journal s...
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