Executive Summary l Fluoridation Facts 1 Fluoridation of community water supplies is the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay. Throughout more than 70 years of research and practical experience, the overwhelming weight of credible scientific evidence has consistently indicated that fluoridation of community water supplies is safe. Studies prove water fluoridation continues to be effective in reducing tooth decay by more than 25% in children and adults, even in an era with widespread availability of fluoride from other sources, such as fluoride toothpaste. Because of the important role it has played in the reduction of tooth decay, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has proclaimed community water fluoridation (along with vaccinations and infectious disease control) one of ten great public health achievements of the 20th century. Community water fluoridation is the controlled adjustment of fluoride that occurs naturally in all water to optimal levels to prevent tooth decay. Community water fluoridation benefits everyone, especially those without access to regular dental care. Fluoridation is a powerful tool in the fight for social justice and health equity. Simply by drinking water, people can benefit from fluoridation’s cavity protection whether they are at home, work or school. Water that has been fortified with fluoride is similar to fortifying salt with iodine, milk with vitamin D and orange juice with vitamin C none of which are medications. When compared to the cost of other prevention programs, water fluoridation is the most cost- effective means of preventing tooth decay for both children and adults in the United States. The cost of a lifetime of water fluoridation for one person is less than the cost of one filling. For community water systems that serve more than 1,000 people, the economic benefit of fluoridation exceeds the cost. And the benefit-cost ratio increases as the size of the population served increases (largely due to economies of scale). Fluoridation is a cost-saving method to prevent tooth decay. According to data from 2014, nearly 75% of the population (3 out of 4 people) in the United States are served by public water systems that are optimally fluoridated. Fluoridation has been thoroughly tested in the United States’ court system, and found to be a proper means of furthering public health and welfare. No court of last resort has ever determined fluoridation to be unlawful. The ADA supports community water fluoridation as a safe, effective, cost-saving and socially equitable way to prevent tooth decay. One of the most widely respected sources for information regarding fluoridation and fluorides is the American Dental Association. The ADA maintains Fluoride and Fluoridation web pages at http://www.ADA.org/fluoride. American Dental Association Fluoridation Facts 2018 Executive Summary Permission is hereby granted to reproduce and distribute this Fluoridation Facts Executive Summary in its entirety, without modification. To request any other copyright permission, please contact the American Dental Association at 1.312.440.2879.
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