Statewide Task Force Launches Oral Health Campaign

Statewide task force focused on oral health disparities launches education campaign on the benefits of community water fluoridation.

Arcora Foundation has convened a statewide Task Force to discuss strategies to reduce oral health disparities by preventing dental disease. A key goal is to ensure that more people in Washington receive the benefits of community water fluoridation, which has been effectively protecting health for 75 years.

The Task Force includes numerous diverse stakeholders working to develop and implement a community-responsive education campaign to improve equity and explore state and local policy opportunities.

A major component of this education campaign is a new website, Water Fluoridation for a Healthy Washington, developed as a part of a growing movement to counter fluoride misinformation and build awareness that health and medical experts strongly support water fluoridation. Here, you’ll find educational materials and toolkits for community outreach.

Why Community Water Fluoridation Matters

Most people in Washington have access to the right balance of fluoride in the water to strengthen teeth and prevent cavities. This includes large cities like Seattle, Yakima, Tacoma, and Pullman. Despite this, 44% of the population still does not have access to the benefits of water fluoridation – nearly double the national rate of 26%. Many large cities, including Spokane, Bellingham and Olympia, are still lacking community water fluoridation. We can do more to improve access and equity in our state.

We know that dental disease disproportionately affects people of color and those with lower incomes. Nearly half of lower-income children in the state, and 78% of lower-income adults, do not receive essential oral health care. This lack of care has led to severe health disparities, such as communities of color experiencing much higher rates of untreated decay.

With community water fluoridation, we find a responsible and equitable approach to prevent dental disease for everyone, without regard to race, ethnicity, age or income.

How You Can Help

It will take many voices and perspectives to reduce dental disparities. We look forward to working with community partners to eliminate the oral health gap. Everyone deserves the benefits of a healthy mouth. For more information on how to participate, please contact Emily Firman, 206-528-7364.

Partners in this statewide effort include: 

  • Asian Pacific Cultural Center
  • Children’s Alliance
  • Community Health Worker Coalition for Migrants and Refugees
  • Delta Dental of Washington
  • Latino Community Fund
  • Molina Healthcare
  • Seattle Children’s
  • Smile Spokane
  • Statewide Poverty Action Network
  • University of Washington, School of Dentistry
  • Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle
  • Washington Association for Community Health
  • Washington State Dental Association
  • Washington State Dental Hygienists’ Association
  • Washington State Department of Health

And many more oral health advocates!