water-glassEducation on benefits of fluoridation is a part of most, if not all, dental school curriculums. The American Dental Association (ADA) has endorsed water fluoridation and fluoride-containing product usage as safe and effective measures for preventing tooth decay. Efforts by the ADA, coupled with the efforts of dentists and other health organizations, has led to a continual increase in the number of communities that opt for fluoridating their water supplies.

In April of 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services updated its recommendation for the optimal fluoride level in drinking water to prevent tooth decay to a single level of 0.7 milligrams per liter of water. The previous recommendation was a range from 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams, issued in 1962. The change resulted from the increase in access Americans have to other sources of fluoride such as toothpaste and mouth rinses in the last 53 years.

Community water fluoridation was named one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, there are areas in the United States that do not have appropriately fluoridated water systems. From Jan. 2011 through May 2012, 43 states have experienced activity to initiate, retain or defeat fluoridation programs.

Chapters should research fluoridation activity in their communities to determine whether they are appropriately fluoridated. For the communities they find that are not, chapters can work with local dental societies and government to implement appropriate fluoridation in water systems.

Read "Water fluoridation fiction & IQ" in the Summer 2014 issue of Mouth. Gregory Sabino, Ph.D, Stony Brook '16, contributing editor, looks into the accuracy of reports that state fluoridated water can cause neurological defects and reduced IQ.

ASDA’s Policy

ASDA encourages the fluoridation of community water supplies as a scientifically-proven safe and effective means of preventing dental decay as recommended by the U.S. public health service.

Resources

Fifty State Fluoridation Report
In December 2016, the ADA Council on Advocacy for Access Prevention released a report that provides fluoridation information on a state-by-state basis. You can use this report to help fluoridation efforts in your communities. (Login required.)

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Info on Community Water Fluoridation

The CDC has a comprehensive website on community water fluoridation, including the latest statistics on water fluoridation in communities across the country, fact sheets and frequently asked questions, and information about the safety of fluoridated water.

The Healthy People 2010 Information Access Project
Healthypeople.gov provides science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of Americans. Their goal is to have 79.6% of Americans drinking fluoridated water by 2020 (section OH-13 is found here.)

ADA's Fluoridation Facts
This 71-page booklet covers topics such as the definition of fluoride, benefits, safety, public policy, cost effectiveness and more. It is loaded with facts citing over 350 scientific references. The booklet also contains a compendium of more than 125 organizations that recognize the public health benefits of community water fluoridation for preventing dental decay.