Vol. 39, No. 2--Spring,



EDITORIAL [Editor’s note: Two occurrences fairly close together prompted the following editorial. The two occurrences were: first, the paper by Spears which leads off this issue of the Journal questioning what constitutes optimum fluoride; the second, the attendance by your Editor at a meeting on fluoridation and the many questions which were raised there.]

SOME RANDOM MUSINGS ABOUT FLUORIDATION Just what is the best way of ensuring that the optimum amount of fluoride gets in a water supply once a community has decided t o fluoridate? Should weekly samples be taken? Monthly? Daily? Who should take them? Where in the system should they be taken? Given today’s modern technology, what is the most costeffective method of determining the fluoride level? What role should a local or county dental public health director take in surveillance? Does he not have some obligation t o see that the water supply maintains its fluoride levels appropriately? What about the state dental director? Or is it the j o b of the environmental health people? Or is it the job of all of them? How many agencies of the federal government have a role in fluoridation? One local health officer at a meeting recently could list the Bureau of Community Health Services of the Health Services Administration, the National Institute of Dental Research of the National Institutes of Health, the Center for Disease Control of the Public Health Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, and at that point he stopped-although he did ask about the role of the American Dental Association. Who in the federal government takes the lead position in regard to fluoridation? Who is responsible for coordinating activities? How does the A D A relate t o the various federal agencies in their joint responsibility for promoting fluoridation? By the way, what’s happened with the A D A Task Force on Fluoridation? And whatever happened t o the fluoridation appropriations which “fell between the cracks” of the conference committee between the House and Senate during the hectic wrap-up of the last Congress? It would seem significant that this editorial writer just now happened t o think of the Division of Dentistry of the Bureau of Health Manpower of P H S and its role in fluoridation. Just what is the Division of Dentistry doing about fluoridation anyway? And what’s the state of the research on community decision-making in regard to fluoridation? Is anybody working on that anymore? Is anybody in the dental schools and dental hygiene schools teaching anything about fluoridation these days? And other than a couple of studies 15-20 years ago, don’t we need t o know more specifics of the lifelong benefits of fluoridation? For example, a t age 60 or 70 how many dentures have been prevented? How many teeth have been saved? One should probably be getting the idea now that your Editor thinks there still is a lot t o learn about fluoridation-please understand he is a most ardent advocate of fluoridation and does not question its truly miraculous benefits--but he would like some answers t o the foregoing questions. Can anybody out there help?


Some random musings about fluoridation.

Vol. 39, No. 2--Spring, 1979 95 EDITORIAL [Editor’s note: Two occurrences fairly close together prompted the following editorial. The two occurrenc...
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