Would you take a $10 bill in exchange for every $1 bill in your wallet?
If the city of Waupaca had 10,000 $1 bills – collected from its citizens in the form of taxes – should it take the same deal on our behalf?
“An Economic Evaluation of Community Water Fluoridation” is a peer-reviewed medical journal article, which describes a scientific study of the economic impact of fluoridation on the average citizen.
Using the results of this study, one can estimate that for every $1 the city of Waupaca spends on fluoridation, city residents save $10.64 on dental care.
Every year. For life.
The scientists compiled statistics for:
1) The cost of fluoridating a city water supply; including the one-time start-up and installation costs, maintenance, testing and safety equipment, chemical costs, labor and replacement costs.
2) The annual incidence (number) of cavities in a community, when fluoridation is in place and when it is not in place.
3) The cost of repairing these cavities, over a lifetime.
The scientists estimated that a city with a population of 5,000-10,000 residents would spend about $2.19 per resident on fluoridation.
This estimate is very much in line with the cost of fluoridation in Waupaca.
On average, they estimated that 0.76 cavities will develop – per person – each year.
Another way to think about this is: three out of four people will develop one cavity each year.
If this sounds high, keep in mind this is an average that includes children and the elderly, who develop cavities at higher rates.
This study also found that fluoridation will prevent approximately 19 percent of these cavities.
On average, the study found that the lifetime costs of each cavity would be about $96.
What does this mean for the average family in Waupaca?
The study found that – per person – fluoridation saves about $23.31 each year.
So, if fluoridation was ended in Waupaca, a family of four would face new dental care costs of about $93 each year – for life.
Depending on how many of the family members are children or elderly, this $93 figure would be even higher.
Most public health programs cost money to achieve results; for example, breast cancer screening costs $50,000 for every year of life saved.
Even relatively “cheap” childhood vaccinations cost society about $25 per child, in excess of the savings from preventing these diseases.
Fluoridation saves society money.
Again, $1 spent on fluoridation saves Waupaca residents $10.64.
If the City Council votes to end fluoridation, it is voting to create a new and unnecessary financial burden for every Waupaca resident.
And, if this burden cannot be paid, the daily disability of untreated tooth decay.
The city of Waupaca would “save” $10,000 in fluoridation costs, but the residents of Waupaca would face more than ($23.31 x 6,099 =) $142,000 in unnecessary costs for dental care – each year – for life.
Please tell your alderman you want to continue to exchange $1 in taxes for $10 in fluoridation savings.