Health Secretary Visits Shippensburg Water Authority, Discusses Benefits of Fluoride

Change begins today

Highlighting the benefits of community water fluoridation statewide, Acting Secretary of Health and Pennsylvania Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson today visited the Shippensburg Borough Authority’s water works system.

“As Acting Secretary of Health, I am urging all water systems in Pennsylvania to optimize fluoridation in the water for their residents,” Dr. Johnson said. “Beyond the proven healthcare benefits, water fluoridation helps address some of the racial and economic disparities in society. We know that dental deserts threaten people of color by limiting access to oral health services. This is why fluoridation is such an important topic.”

Dr. Johnson joined local officials, including Michael Pimental, Shippensburg Borough Authority chair, for a tour of a recently renovated well that is part of Shippensburg’s water facilities.

“All water naturally contains some fluoride, and decades of experience have demonstrated that adjusting the fluoride levels provides many benefits that the residents of this borough enjoy,” said Dr. Johnson. “I appreciate the opportunity to highlight the role that water fluoridation plays in our wellbeing. This safe practice has been used for decades to promote better health and has been proven to prevent dental disease with the right support. After all, you cannot be truly healthy without good oral health.”


Lack of Dental Providers

In 2019, more than 56 million people across the United States lived in an area without enough dental providers. Black and Brown children and those in low-income families have higher rates of cavities than their wealthier white peers. Black and Latinx adults have higher rates of untreated tooth decay than their white peers, risking their health and financial security.

In addition to improving oral health for residents, providing community water fluoridation has financial benefits. A recent economic review of multiple studies found that for every $1 invested in water fluoridation, savings for communities ranged from a minimum of $1.10 – up to $135.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health aims to provide access to dental health for the underserved. It works to promote the prevention of oral disease by stressing proper personal and community preventative behaviors, including: 

  • community water fluoridation, 
  • school-linked sealant programs for low-income children, 
  • routine oral cancer screenings, and 
  • proper oral hygiene. 

To find a community’s water fluoridation status in Pennsylvania, visit the PA Oral Health Association map.

For more information on oral health in Pennsylvania visit


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