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Community Water Fluoridation

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This collection of selected resources offers high-quality information about fluoridated community water. Use the tools below for further searching, or contact us for personalized assistance.

Key Facts

  Share these facts to help improve the oral health of pregnant women, children, adolescents, and their families.

  • Community water fluoridation is the best method for delivering fluoride to all members of the community regardless of age, educational attainment, income level, or access to routine oral care. 1
  • Community water fluoridation is a major factor responsible for the decline in prevalence and severity of dental caries (tooth decay) during the second half of the 20th century. 2
  • Consuming fluoridated water and beverages, and foods prepared or processed with fluoridated water, throughout the day maintains a low concentration of fluoride that enhances remineralization of tooth surfaces. 3
  • Community water fluoridation has been shown to save money, both for families and for the health care system. The return on investment for community water fluoridation varies with size of the community, increasing as the community size increases. Community water fluoridation is cost-saving, even for small communities. 4
  • Community water fluoridation is an effective public health strategy for delivering fluoride to prevent tooth decay and is the most feasible and cost-effective way to reach entire communities. 3
  • The addition of fluoride to community water supplies results in reduced incidence of tooth decay within a short period of time, and the elimination of fluoride from community water supplies results in increased incidence of tooth decay within a short period of time. These results have been consistently found regardless of date of analysis; this illustrates that benefits of community water fluoridation persist even in an era of availability of fluoride from other sources. 5
  • To be prepared and motivated to promote water fluoridation, dental school graduates need to be aware that water fluoridation promotion is an important public health issue, possess sound scientific knowledge about fluorides and water fluoridation, have experience discussing fluorides and water fluoridation with patients, have critical evaluative skills, and possess a professional and moral incentive to act. 6
  • Oral-health-promotion activities should take into account differing perceptions about community water fluoridation among various groups to tailor educational messaging. 7
  • Further research is needed on interventions to reduce common barriers to oral fluoride administration and reduce early childhood caries in communities lacking water fluoridation. 8

References

  1. Murthy VH. 2015. Surgeon general’s perspectives: Community water fluoridation–One of CDC’s “10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.” Public Health Reports 130(4):296–298.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 1999. Achievements in public health, 1900–1999: Fluoridation of drinking water to prevent dental caries. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 48(41):933–940.
  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Federal Panel on Community Water Fluoridation. 2015. U.S. Public Health Service recommendation for fluoride concentration in drinking water for the prevention of dental caries. Public Health Reports 130(4):318–331.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2015. Community Water Fluoridation: Fluoridation Basics [webpage].
  5. Campos-Outcalt D, Celaya M, Nunez A, Rosales C. 2012. Community Water Fluoridation: An Evidence Review. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.
  6. Melbye ML, Armfield JM. 2013. The dentist’s role in promoting community water fluoridation: A call for dentists and educators. Journal of the American Dental Association 144(1):65–75.
  7. Mork N, Griffen S. 2015. Perceived safety and benefit of community water fluoridation: 2009 HealthStyles survey. Journal of Public Health Dentistry 75(4):327–336.
  8. Flood S, Asplund K, Hoffman B, Nye A, Zuckerman K. 2016. Fluoride supplementation adherence and barriers in a community without water fluoridation. Academic Pediatrics [Epub ahead of print].

OHRC Publications

This section contains OHRC-produced materials.


Details

National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness. 2012–. Brush up on oral health. Elk Grove Village, IL: National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness, monthly

Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center
Telephone: (866) 763-6481
E-mail: health@ecetta.info
Website: https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc
Available from the website.

This tip sheet series provides Head Start staff with information on current practice, practical tips for promoting oral health to share with parents, and recipes for healthy snacks that children can make with Head Start staff or at home with their parents. Topics include children with special health care needs, community water fluoridation, dental caries, dental home, fluoride varnish, health literacy, home visiting, injury, nutrition, pregnancy, school readiness, and tobacco.


Details

National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness. 2014–. Healthy habits for happy smiles. Elk Grove Village, IL: National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness, 26 pp

Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center
Telephone: (866) 763-6481
E-mail: health@ecetta.info
Website: https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc
Available from the website.

This series of handouts for pregnant women and parents of infants and young children provides simple tips on oral health issues. Topics include taking care of oral health during pregnancy, managing teething pain, taking care of infants’ oral health, brushing children’s teeth, toothbrushing positions and tips for brushing the teeth of children with special health care needs, choosing healthy drinks, giving healthy snacks, getting fluoride, preventing oral injuries, giving first aid for oral injuries, and finding and visiting a dental clinic. The series is available in English and Spanish.


Details

National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness. 2017. I like my teeth [oral health posters]. Elk Grove Village, IL: National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness, 8 items

National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness
American Academy of Pediatrics 345 Park Boulevard
Itasca, IL 60143

Telephone: (888) 227-5125
E-mail: health@ecetta.info
Website: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/health

These posters share simple, positive messages about brushing children’s teeth with fluoridated toothpaste, drinking fluoridated water, eating a healthy diet, and talking to the dentist or doctor about fluoride treatments for children. The posters are available in English and Spanish.

     


OHRC Library

This section contains recent materials, not including OHRC-produced materials.


Details

American Academy of Pediatrics, Campaign for Dental Health. 2015. Fluoridation toolkit: A resource for health advocates. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics, Campaign for Dental Health, multiple items

American Academy of Pediatrics, Campaign for Dental Health
345 Park Boulevard
Itasca, IL 60143

Telephone: (847) 434-4000
Fax: (847) 434-8000
E-mail: fluoride@aap.org
Website: http://www.ilikemyteeth.org
Available from the website.

This toolkit for advocates provides resources for educating communities about community water fluoridation. Contents include sample blog posts, a memo for newspaper editors, letters to the editor, tips for talking to reporters, remarks to help parents and health professionals talk to city council or local board members, a resolution observing community water fluoridation's 70th anniversary, and social media messages. A user's guide is included.


Details

American Academy of Pediatrics, Campaign for Dental Health. 2015-2016. Oral health posters. [Elk Grove Village, IL]: American Academy of Pediatrics, Campaign for Dental Health, 5 items

American Academy of Pediatrics, Campaign for Dental Health
345 Park Boulevard
Itasca, IL 60143

Telephone: (847) 434-4000
Fax: (847) 434-8000
E-mail: fluoride@aap.org
Website: http://www.ilikemyteeth.org

These posters for consumers discuss why children need fluoride, how fluoride fights cavities, the importance of water with fluoride for oral health and overall health, community water fluoridation for oral health equity, and teaching children to brush and floss. The posters are available in English and Spanish.


Details

American Dental Association. 2016. Why fluoride in your tap water is a good thing. Chicago, IL: American Dental Association, 1 video (2 min, 59 sec)

American Dental Association
211 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611-2678

Telephone: (312) 440-2500
Fax: (312) 440-7494
E-mail: info@ada.org
Website: http://www.ada.org
Available from the website.

This video explains why adding fluoride to community water systems is safe and effective at preventing tooth decay. The video features commentary from oral health professionals and pediatric health professionals about the value of community water fluoridation for children and adults.


Details

Children's Dental Health Project. 2015. Fluoridation advocacy: Pew's contributions and lessons that emerge. Washington, DC: Children's Dental Health Project, 27 pp

Children's Dental Health Project
1020 19th Street, N.W., Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036

Telephone: (202) 833-8288
Fax: (202) 331-1432
E-mail: info@cdhp.org
Website: https://www.cdhp.org
Available from the website.

This report summarizes the Pew Charitable Trusts' efforts to support and strengthen advocacy for community water fluoridation. The report examines the impact that Pew's work has had on advancing community water fluoridation and lessons that have emerged from Pew's experiences. Examples from Pew-assisted state campaigns' efforts to initiate water fluoridation or reaffirm its value are included.


Details

Iowa Department of Public Health. 2017. Iowa community water fluoridation plan 2017-2021. [Des Moines, IA]: Iowa Department of Public Health, 5 pp

Iowa Department of Public Health
321 East 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319-0075

Telephone: (515) 281-7689
Secondary Telephone: (866) 227-9878
E-mail: https://www.idph.iowa.gov/Contact-Us
Website: http://www.idph.iowa.gov
Available from the website.

This community water fluoridation plan outlines strategies for ensuring that all Iowans have access to optimally fluoridated water. Objectives and activities are discussed. A logic model setting forth long-term outcomes, short-term outcomes, activities, and inputs is included.

     

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