Dental care on tap for Topisaw

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Residents of the Topisaw Creek community can now start theiroral care routine at the tap.

With the Topisaw Creek Water Association’s May implementation ofa water fluoridation program, citizens drink to their health everytime they fill a glass.

Janet Kirtfield, the association’s general manager, said theprogram’s goal is to prevent tooth decay, especially in youngchildren. Fluoride makes teeth stronger and resistant to bacteriagrowth and is a defense against cavities.

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An $18,700 grant, which covered the cost of equipment and itsinstallation, a year’s supply of chemicals and the oversight of theproject by an engineer, funded the project, she said.

The funding was secured by the Mississippi Department of Healthand provided by the Bower Foundation and the Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention.

After the first year of operation, it will be the responsibilityof the water association to supply the funds needed to continue theprogram, Kirtfield said.

The fluoride chemicals, which are in a granular form, will makeup most of the additional expense. Citizens will see only a slightincrease in cost, she said.

“It won’t be that much,” she said. “Per customer, it will bevery, very little compared to the benefits that will come from theprogram.”

Kirtfield said that even though she has not received muchfeedback on the project from the community, some people havereacted positively.

“A few people have said that they’re glad we’re doing this,” shesaid. “They think it’s going to help with what could be dentalproblems in the future.”

The Topisaw board of directors decided to pursue the plan abouta year ago, but its efforts were delayed by Hurricane Katrina,Kirtfield said. The water system was not put into operation untilearlier this year.

She said the system works by routing water through a chemicalfeeder that disperses the fluoride into the water at the treatmentplant. The fluoridated water then proceeds to the water system.

The Topisaw Creek Water Association is one of 18 associationsacross the state that recently received a Community InitiativeAward from the MDH for their efforts in promoting community healthwith the fluoridation program.