Santa Clara Valley Water District Implements Community Water Fluoridation

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Gustavo Caraveo
The Health Trust


Santa Clara Valley Water District Implements Community Water Fluoridation

San Jose, CA, December 12, 2016 – San Jose joins other major cities in California and the nation in fluoridating its water supply. Starting with its Santa Teresa water treatment plant, which serves East County, the Santa Clara Valley Water District has implemented community water fluoridation.

“We have been treating cavities in kids in our East San Jose dental clinics for years, but it’s not enough,” said Frederick J. Ferrer, former CEO of The Health Trust. “This will give more families the foundation they need. It’s the cornerstone of prevention in oral health.”

The Water District Board voted in 2011 to bring optimal levels of fluoride to their water supplies after testimony from health experts about the benefits of fluoridation, especially for the county’s most vulnerable residents. The Health Trust led the effort before the board, along with the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health, with support from the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, FIRST 5 Santa Clara County, PACT and the Santa Clara County Dental Society.

The Health Trust donated $1 million to help fund the capital costs along with $900,000 from FIRST 5 and $500,000 from the California Dental Association Foundation.

“The dentists have been working toward this for years,” said Dr. John Pisacane, a practicing dentist in Willow Glen. “The benefits of community water fluoridation are well-known, including strengthening enamel and helping to reduce tooth decay in both children and adults by 25 percent.”

Community water supplies in Palo Alto, San Mateo County, San Francisco, and southern Marin have been fluoridated for years. Additionally Santa Clara County residents in portions of Evergreen, Alviso and north San Jose receive fluoridated water. According to the State Water Resources Control Board, almost 64 percent of California residents receive fluoridated water and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates nearly 66 percent of U.S. residents receive the benefits of fluoridation.

“Fluoridation by the Santa Clara Valley Water District is a beginning, but there is more to be done,” said Charlie Bullock, interim CEO of The Health Trust.  “In addition to the Water District, San Jose Water Company wells will require capital installations to fluoridate the groundwater. The Health Trust is looking forward to working with San Jose Water Company to further fluoridation in San Jose,” Bullock said.


Statements of Support from State and Local Leaders

Tooth decay is a common disease in children. Water fluoridation is the single most important step a community can undertake to prevent it.

-State of California Dental Director Jay Kumar

The Santa Clara Valley Water District has responded to a public health priority of Santa Clara County. By optimizing fluoride levels at our three water treatment plants, the dental benefits of fluoridation will reach a large proportion of the community we serve in the most cost-effective way.

-Santa Clara Valley Water District Board Chair John Varela.

Fluoridating San Jose’s water supply is an important investment in the overall health and well-being of our youngest children. Oral health diseases can affect children’s growth, speech development, nutritional intake, and overall quality of life. Community water fluoridation is an effective method to prevent tooth decay and this exciting effort will help more young children in Santa Clara County have a healthy start. 

-FIRST 5 Santa Clara County Chief Executive Officer Jolene Smith

This project will make a difference in the lives of many families and children. Research and studies show that fluoridating public drinking water is not only safe and effective, it is the best method of improving oral health. With the launch of this project, I know that many children and families will have better oral health. I am pleased to support such great efforts for making our communities strong and improving the lives and health of those who need it most.

-Board President Dave Cortese, Santa Clara Board of Supervisors, District 3

The improved dental health that will result from the fluoridation initiative will produce many positive results for the children and families in our community. These include happier children not riddled by tooth decay and pain, increased attendance at school and the confidence children enjoy with a healthy smile. This is an important investment in our community that the Board of Supervisors of Santa Clara County has fully endorsed and supported since its inception.

-Supervisor Cindy Chavez, Santa Clara Board of Supervisors, District 2

Our Board of Supervisors has long been a proponent of community water fluoridation for almost 20 years now. It is simply the safest and most economical way to keep teeth strong and help prevent decay. In the past 70 years, since the widespread introduction of fluoride to community water supplies, there has been a steady and significant decline in cavities in children and adults. The Centers for Disease Control have named community water fluoridation one of ten great public health achievements of the 20th century. I’m delighted we’re finally implementing this important project and bringing safe, effective fluoridation to more Silicon Valley residents.

– Supervisor Joe Simitian, Santa Clara Board of Supervisors, District 5

Studies show that fluoridated water reduces incidence of tooth decay by up to 40% and I’m delighted now that more San Jose residents than ever will begin to receive clean, safe and fluoridated water. I would like to thank the Santa Clara Valley Water District for partnering with a broad coalition of community organizations, led by the Health Trust, to bring our water supply into the 21st century and improve oral health for future generations of San Jose children.

-San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo

The California Dental Association, which represents more than 26,000 member dentists, and it’s philanthropic foundation, have long recognized and supported the dental disease prevention benefits of community water fluoridation. Scientific evidence has proven that families with access to water fluoridation experience reduced dental disease, leading to healthier lives. We applaud Santa Clara Valley Water District’s commitment to optimally fluoridate its three treatment plants, and remain excited and committed to seeing water fluoridation completed throughout the county.

-California Dental Association Foundation Chair, Jean Creasey, DDS

We recognize the role employers play in achieving greater health equity and increasing the quality of life of the entire community. Water fluoridation is a common sense approach to providing high quality dental health and ensures that prosperity continues to smile on Silicon Valley.

– Silicon Valley Leadership Group Senior Director of Health Policy Alexandria Felton

This is an important step in improving health for all people living in Santa Clara County. More than 70 years of scientific research has shown that an optimal level of fluoride in community water is safe and effective in preventing tooth decay. Simply by drinking water, residents benefit from fluoride, whether they are at home, work or school.

-County of Santa Clara Health Officer Sara Cody