You might assume the water coming out of your tap is fluoridated. But if you live in the  Garden State, chances are it’s not.

Only 15 percent of New Jersey residents have teeth-protecting fluoride in their water, compared to 75 percent of the rest of the nation.

According to Jim Schulz, the director of governmental and public affairs for the New Jersey Dental Association, we rank 49th out of the 50 states when it comes to the percentage of population consuming fluoridated water. Only Hawaii has less.

He said the reason is in New Jersey, the most densely populated state in the nation, many towns are supplied by a single water utility, and “all towns on a water line must agree they want their water fluoridated."

As a result we have bands of fluoridated water communities, especially in Mercer, Middlesex and Monmouth counties.

Flouride fortifies the teeth's enamel, guarding against cavities and decay.

"We see it as the most cost effective and simple way for people to start a good oral health regimen," he said. “Dentists will tell you they know where the kids are coming from, they know where the adults are coming from.”

He stressed fluoride isn’t just important for kids.

“More older Americans are keeping their teeth because of water fluoridation. There’s a reduction in oral health care costs because of water fluoridation.”

Schulz said many types of toothpaste add fluoride, but to get the real benefit of fluoride you need to ingest it, not just use it topically.

He said there is pending legislation in the state that would required fluoridation.

Schulz said over the past 70 years fluoride has been repeatedly tested and found to be safe by the CDC, the World Health Organization and the American Dental Association council on science.

But some doctors and researchers believe fluoride has a potentially negative effect on the human body, causing a variety of possible problems including accelerating the aging process, contributing to arthritis and may even increase the incidence of tumors.

According to the New Jersey Dental Association, the following locations have fluoridated water:

  • Atlantic County — Atlantic City, Egg Harbor City,
  • Burlington County — McGuire Air Force Base, Willingboro, Mt. Laurel, Fort Dix, Aqua
  • Gloucester County — Washington
  • Hunterdon County — Flemington, Readington, Three Bridges, Whitehouse, Whitehouse Station
  • Mercer County — Ewing, Hamilton, Hightstown, Hopewell Township, Lawrence, Pennington, Princeton, West Windsor
  • Monmouth County — Allentown, Colts Neck, Freehold, New Jersey American Coastal North
  • Somerset County — New Jersey American
  • Sussex County — Newton
  • Union County — Rahway

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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