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Rugby Water Supply Receives More Recognition

By Staff | Oct 9, 2015

Greg Boucher, 15-year city worker and Rugby's water plant operator, holds the certificate awarded.

To go along with the City’s past recognition by the Department of Health, who issued the City of Rugby a Safe Drinking Water Act Certificate of Achievement for complying with all applicable Safe Drinking Water Act requirements, the City of Rugby has been recognized again. This time the recognition comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States Department of Health & Human Services, who commended Rugby and its water system for the consistent manner and professional adjustments of the water fluoride content to secure the optimum level for oral health. Rugby is one of only 45 cities recognized for this feat in the state of North Dakota. To be considered for the recognition, the Rugby Water Department had to achieve 12 consistent months of high-quality water fluoridation practice. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Control recommends water fluoridation as a safe and effective method to prevent tooth decay improving the oral health of community residents of all ages.

The history of water fluoridation started in 1909 by a dentist named Frederick McKay, who observed that some children in the Pike’s Peak region of Colorado developed brown, mottled stains on their teeth; but despite the unattractive appearance, these children had relatively few cavities. After 22 years of research conducted by Dr. McKay along with several other notable scientists, the cause of the phenomena was identified. Cryolite, an abundant mineral in the region, contains the element fluorine – which was washed out during rain and snowstorms, creating high concentrations (2-13 parts per million) of fluoride in the local water supply. By 1935 another researcher, Dr. H. Trendley Dean, had concluded that when fluoride concentration in the water is maintained at about one part per million, tooth decay (caries) can be successfully prevented without the characteristic brown mottling of fluorosis.

Intentional fluoridation of the first U.S. public water system occurred in Grand Rapids, Mich., in 1945. The effect on the local school children was studied for 15 years and the fluoride was found to reduce tooth decay by 60 percent. In 1950, the American Dental Association officially accepted and encouraged the community water fluoridation as a means of caries prevention and today, about 67 percent of American communities benefit from this public health practice. Research has shown that as a result, the rate of tooth decay across America has been reduced by 29 percent among children and 20-40 percent among adults.

Community water fluoridation has been recognized by CDC as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. Currently, nearly three quarters (74.6 percent) or 210 million people served by community water systems have access to optimally fluoridated tap water. CDC recommends water fluoridation as a safe, effective, and inexpensive method of preventing tooth decay. In fact, every $1 invested in fluoridation saves at least $32 in dental treatment costs.

“As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of community water fluoridation, CDC and groups such as the Community Preventive Services Task Force continue to reaffirm our commitment to water fluoridation as one of the most effective steps a community can take to prevent tooth decay and promote oral health,” stated Katherine Weno, DDS, JD, director, CDC Division of Oral Health. “Studies continue to show that water fluoridation is a positive health additive for both children and adults.”

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