- Associated Press - Monday, October 12, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - A survey shows that New Hampshire ranks 43rd in the country for access to fluoride in public drinking water.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says only large states like Montana, Alaska, Idaho and Wyoming have lower percentages than New Hampshire.

The survey says less than 390,000 New Hampshire residents - less than half of the 834,000 people on public water systems - have access to fluoridated water.

Six communities have received a Water Fluoridation Quality Award from the CDC - Concord, Dover, Lancaster, Laconia, Lebanon and Manchester. Nashua, with 87,000 residents, is the largest city in the state that doesn’t fluoridate its public water system.

Dr. Peter Welnak, president of the New Hampshire Dental Society, says research shows that optimally fluoridated drinking water is a safe and simple way to help prevent cavities, keep tooth enamel strong and protect against tooth decay.

“Clinical studies conducted over the past 70 years have consistently shown that fluoridation of community water supplies is highly effective in preventing tooth decay in both children and adults,” Welnak said. “Today, thousands of New Hampshire residents have healthier teeth because of the fluoride in their community’s water system. But only about a dozen towns fluoridate, and that has to change.”

National health experts such as the CDC and American Medical Association recommend fluoridated water as a safe and effective way to prevent tooth decay. The CDC even recognized water fluoridation as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.

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