Tooth decay is no longer considered inevitable. Among recent major public health accomplishments in the past 50 years the reduction of tooth decay attributed to the fluoridation of public water supplies. Research has shown that adequate amounts of fluoride reduces tooth decay in children by 20 to 40% and in adults by 15 to 35%. It also helps repair the early stages of tooth decay even before such decay becomes visible.
The problem in Oneida County, as in most rural areas, is that many people don’t have public water supplies. Although all water contains some natural fluoride, in Oneida County very rarely is private well water found to have an adequate amount of fluoride to prevent tooth decay.
Dentists, physicians and pediatric health care providers have recommended fluoride supplements for more than the past two generations. However, not all Oneida County children have access to fluoride supplements for various reasons. The Health Department offers a Fluoride Supplement Program to address the need of children in such circumstances. 28 children in various rural communities of the County received prescribed supplements in 2008. The dose for each child is determined by the level of naturally occurring fluoride in the well water of his/her home and the child”s age. Of the water samples tested for fluoride, all were below the recommended level and in need of fluoride supplementation. Water test kits are provided by the Health Department with complete instructions for the water sample collection and submission. Families, who can afford to, pay $5.00 for mailing and handlings of a three month supply are asked to do so. Anyone in need of additional information or an application for the program should call the Health Department.