San Jose begins community water fluoridation

After years of advocating for community water fluoridation in the largest U.S. city without it, San Jose residents have finally begun receiving the benefits of fluoride.

In December, the Santa Clara Valley Water District began fluoridating its water supply serving eastern portions of Santa Clara County. Areas that were previously not fluoridated will receive water that is partially or fully fluoridated. Furthermore, fluoridation projects continue to move forward in other areas in the county and are anticipated to be completed in 2017 for eastern Santa Clara County and in 2020 for western Santa Clara County.

This news comes at an especially good time, aligning with newfound energy and direction coming from California’s state dental director, Jayanth Kumar, DDS. In his position, Kumar is working to direct and manage the oral health program in the California Department of Public Health and, in collaboration with the Department of Health Care Services, to provide leadership in developing and implementing innovative strategies and policies to reduce oral health disparities in California. He has made water fluoridation a priority in the draft oral health plan.

CDA and the CDA Foundation have a long history of supporting water fluoridation to ensure more communities across California reach optimal levels of fluoride in their water supplies. Before CDA sponsored legislation in the early 1990s requiring communities with 10,000 or more water connections to implement fluoridation when funding becomes available, only 17 percent of California’s population received fluoridated water. That number has nearly quadrupled. Today, more than 64 percent of the state’s population receives the benefits of fluoride.

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