I was in my middle twenties before I knew what a cavity was. My friends had them; I almost felt left out.
I happened to have spent my early years in Madison, Wis., one of the first cities to have its water supply fluoridated.
Our editorial today argues for restoring Medicaid dental coverage for poor adults. That would cost the state something on the order of $30 million and the federal government more, since it would be paying for a further expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
Total Medicaid dental in Washington could come in at something north of $90 million per biennium.
That cost might be pared in the future if all of Washington’s cities adopted fluoridation, which the U.S. Centers for Disease controls has called “one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.” One study cited by the American Dental Association estimates that every $1 invested in fluoridation saves $38 worth of dentistry later.
Close to two-thirds of Washingtonians benefit from fluoridated drinking water, but a few bastions of enlightenment – including Olympia, Spokane and Bellingham – remain holdouts.
Read more »