TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) - The western Arkansas city of De Queen received a more than $17,000 grant to cover the startup costs of adding fluoride to its water system.
The grant from the Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation comes after state legislators last year passed a law requiring water municipalities serving 5,000 or more customers to fluoridate their public water using money that is not generated from taxes, the Texarkana Gazette reported Sunday.
De Queen currently serves close to 6,600 citizens, so the city is required to fluoridate its water to comply with the new law, said Kelly Caldwell, communications manager for the dental foundation.
"Realizing the positive impact fluoridated water will have on the dental health of Arkansas, the Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation pledged to pay the startup costs of adding fluoride to water systems," Caldwell told the newspaper.
De Queen Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy said fluoride will be mixed into the water at the water treatment plant.
"It's a start. But if you drink soda pop instead of water, it doesn't do any good. If you drink water, you will get the benefits," McKelvy said.
The chemical cost to De Queen will be about $13,000 a year, the newspaper reported.
Overall, the new state law affects 35 Arkansas water systems, which are now mandated to fluoridate their water.
Adding fluoride to water supplies is a safe, effective way to decrease dental decay and chronic oral infections, Caldwell said.
Ed Choate, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Arkansas, added: "Not only will it make teeth more resistant to decay, but it will stop or even reverse the decay process."
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