Mississippi mandates fluoridation

Mississippi has mandated community water fluoridation, partly as a result of research by dentists pursuing degrees in public health, according to the University of North Carolina.

A university newsletter credits Nicholas Mosca, D.D.S.; Kim Hammersmith, D.D.S.; and four other public health graduate students with helping convince the state's board of health to pass legislation in April requiring all Mississippi communities of more than 2,000 people to fluoridate their public water supply.

As part of a course on healthcare, Edward "Ned" Brooks, Ph.D., assigned students a state and a broad topic area, according to the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health Web site. Dr. Mosca, dental director for Mississippi, who is pursuing a doctorate in public health through the university's distance learning program, asked a group including Dr. Hammersmith to focus on dental health in Mississippi.

"As a dentist," Dr. Hammersmith told the newsletter, "I am somewhat embarrassed to say that I knew nothing about community water fluoridation before taking on this project. Not only did I gain a lot of knowledge and insight about this very polarizing issue within public health, but our group was able to contribute our knowledge and research to the actual discussion of fluoridation at the state level. Mississippi's mandate will benefit enough of the state's population to reach the Healthy People 2010's goal of 75% of those on public water systems receiving fluoridated water. I'm proud to have played a small role in that."

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