Celebrating 70 Years of Water Fluoridation in Philadelphia


Philadelphia — Penn Dental Medicine joined with the PA Coalition for Oral Health (PCOH) to co-organize and host a special event and continuing education program celebrating 70 years of community water fluoridation in Philadelphia and promoting water fluoridation as an essential public health measure. Held May 1 at Penn Dental Medicine, the program was attended by representatives from the American Dental Association, Pennsylvania Dental Association, Pennsylvania Dental Hygienists’ Association, and the Philadelphia County Dental Society, as well as government officials from Pennsylvania’s Department of Health and Department of Human Services, and leadership and staff from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, the Philadelphia Water Department, and Penn’s Water Center.

The morning session featured a continuing education program, “Water Fluoridation: Separating Myths from the Facts,” facilitated by the American Fluoridation Society. Dr. Johnny Johnson, co-founder and President of the American Fluoridation Society, and public health consultant Matt Jacob, spoke on the elements of effective advocacy. They discussed the importance of understanding the common arguments of opponents to fluoridation and also shared communication techniques to enhance the impact of public health messages on fluoridation.

The day’s luncheon program included an award to the Philadelphia Water Department for “70 years of Service for Community Water Fluoridation.”  Frank Franklin, Philadelphia’s Interim Health Commissioner, presented the award from the American Dental Association and American State and Territorial Dental Directors to Randy Hayman, Commissioner of the Philadelphia Water Department, in recognition of the Department’s dedication to improving community health through drinking water.

The afternoon session, “Water for Health,” included speakers from the PCOH, the Philadelphia Water Department, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Pennsylvania Dental Association, and Penn’s Water Center.

“Described by the Centers for Disease Control as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century, community water fluoridation is indeed an effective and efficient way of reducing tooth decay at the population level,” says Dr. Joan Gluch, Chief of Penn Dental Medicine’s Division of Community Oral Health and Board Chair of PCOH. “It was an honor to come together to recognize Philadelphia’s commitment to community oral health through water fluoridation.”

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