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The Park Hills Public Water Supply District was recently recognized for its consistent water fluoridation through 2016.

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The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services recently announced a number of Missouri public water systems had received Water Fluoridation Quality Awards for 2016 from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including one local municipality.

The Park Hills Public Water Supply District was recognized among 19 other Missouri water districts for maintaining a consistent level of fluoride in drinking water throughout 2016. Fluoride is added to public drinking water to prevent tooth decay.

In a Jan. 8 statement, CDC Division of Oral Health Acting Director Casey Hannan, MPH, said that water fluoridation continues to be an important step to maintain dental wellness in communities.

“Water fluoridation is one of the best investments that a community can make to maintain the oral health of its citizens,” Hannan said. “It is equally as effective in preventing cavities in children and adults.”

According to the statement, for every $1 a community invests in water fluoridation, $38 is saved in dental treatment costs.

According to the most recent statistics available from the CDC’s website, Missouri ranks 26th in the nation for percentage of public water system users receiving adequately fluoridated water.

Missouri’s percentage of 76.8 percent of public water users receiving fluoridated water just exceeds the national percentage of 74.4 percent. In considering the entire U.S. population, 66.3 percent receive fluoridated water.

Kentucky ranks at the top of the list, with 99.9 percent of public water system users receiving fluoridated water. At the bottom is Hawaii, with only 11.7 percent of public water system users receiving fluoridated water.

Park Hills and the other 18 Missouri water districts recognized for fluoridation efforts in 2016 are among 1,360 public water systems in 29 states that received the same distinction.

For more information about water fluoridation in Missouri or the United States, visit http://health.mo.gov/living/families/oralhealth/waterfluoridation.php or https://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation

Jacob Scott is a reporter with the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3616 or at jscott@dailyjournalonline.com.

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