Community Water Fluoridation – One of the 10 Greatest Public Health Achievements of the 20th CenturyPosted on by
Drinking fluoridated water keeps the teeth strong and reduces tooth decay by approximately 25% in children and adults. By preventing tooth decay, community water fluoridation has been shown to save money, both for families and the health care system.
Over the past several decades, there have been major improvements in the nation’s oral health. Still, tooth decay remains one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood. Community water fluoridation has been identified as the most cost-effective method of delivering fluoride to all members of the community, regardless of age, educational attainment, or income level.
Because fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally on earth and is released from rocks into the soil, water, and air, nearly all water contains some fluoride. The naturally occurring levels of fluoride are not usually enough to help prevent tooth decay or cavities, so community water systems can add the right amount of fluoride to the local drinking water to prevent tooth decay.
Community water fluoridation is recommended by nearly all public health, medical, and dental organizations including the American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, US Public Health Service, and World Health Organization. Because of its contribution to the dramatic decline in tooth decay in the United States since the 1960s, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named community water fluoridation one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.
By Dr. Barbara F. Gooch, DMD, MPH Associate Director of Science Division of Oral Health Centers for Disease Control and Prevention