Community Water Fluoridation
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has proclaimed community water fluoridation to be one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. Despite that fact, there have been local communities that have decided to stop the addition of fluoride to their water systems, although evidence shows that fluoridation is the most effective way to prevent dental disease.
Studies conducted throughout the past 60 years have consistently indicated that fluoridation of community water supplies is both safe and cost-effective in preventing dental disease in both children and adults. Water fluoridation can be effective in reducing dental decay by 20-40 percent, even with widespread availability of fluoride from other sources, such as toothpaste.
Fluoridation contributes much more to overall health than simply reducing tooth decay. It prevents needless infection pain, suffering and loss of teeth and saves costs associated with dental treatment, particularly in cases where dental care is received at a hospital. The average cost for a community to adjust the fluoride content in its water is estimated to range from approximately $0.50 a year per person in large communities to approximately $3.00 a year per person in small communities. For most cities, every $1 invested in water fluoridation saves $38 in dental treatment costs.
When local community water fluoridation issues arise, input from local dentists can have a large impact on the final decision. In order to assist our members with water fluoridation issues in their communities, PDA has complied talking points and other resources that you can share with local authorities giving them the facts about fluoride.
For additional questions about community water fluoridation, contact the PDA Central Office at (800) 223-0016.