Why Community Water Fluoridation?
Throughout decades of research and more than sixty years of practical experience, fluoridation of public water supplies has been responsible for dramatically improving the public’s oral health. In 1994, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a report which reviewed public health achievements. Along with other successful public health measures such as the virtual eradication of polio and reductions in childhood blood lead levels, fluoridation was lauded as one of the most economical prevention intervention in the nation.1
Fluoridation of community water supplies is simply the precise adjustment of the existing naturally occurring fluoride levels in drinking water to an optimal fluoride level recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service (0.7-1.2 parts per million) for the prevention of dental decay. Based on data from 2002, approximately 170 million people (or over two-thirds, 67.3%, of the population) in the United States are served by public water systems that are fluoridated.2
Studies conducted throughout the past 60 years have consistently indicated that fluoridation of community water supplies is safe and effective in preventing dental decay in both children and adults. It is the most efficient way to prevent one of the most common childhood diseases—tooth decay (5 times as common as asthma and 7 times as common as hay fever in 5- to 17-year olds).3
The American Dental Association and Alaska Dental Society endorse community water fluoridation and are joined by 39 national and international organizations which also endorse or support or acknowledge the public health benefits of fluoridation of community water supplies as safe and effective for preventing tooth decay. Support for community water fluoridation has been the American Dental Association’s position since policy was first adopted in 1950. The ADA’s policies regarding community water fluoridation are based on the overwhelming weight of peer-reviewed, credible scientific evidence. The ADA, along with state and local dental societies, continues to work with federal, state, local agencies and community coalitions to increase the number of communities benefiting from water fluoridation.4
The Alaska Dental Society, its local component societies, along with a statewide coalition, continues to educate and encourage community water fluoridation in Alaska. Community water fluoridation is a community health measure that protects all children and adults, regardless of income, education, or ethnicity--not just those with access to dental care.
1US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service. Surgeon General statement on community water fluoridation. Washington, DC; December, 1995.
2American Dental Association, Fluoridation Facts, Chicago, IL, 2005.
3American Dental Association, Fluoridation Facts, Chicago, IL, 2005.
4American Dental Association, Fluoridation Facts, Chicago, IL, 2005.