April 24, 2014 -- The Connecticut State Dental Association (CSDA) released the following statement on the fluoridation of community water supplies.
The CSDA, its members and other oral health advocates, strongly support the fluoridation of Connecticut’s community water supplies. Almost 50 years of evidence-based research has proven that water fluoridation is a key factor in the prevention of tooth decay and the development of cavities. Fluoride is nature's cavity fighter, occurring naturally in the earth's crust, in combination with other minerals in rocks and soil. Small amounts of fluoride occur naturally in all water sources, and varying amounts of the mineral are found in all foods and beverages. Water fluoridation is the process of adjusting the natural level of fluoride to a concentration sufficient to protect against tooth decay, a range of 0.7 parts per million to 1.2 ppm. Fluoridation is safe, effective and a tremendous benefit for all people, but especially children and families who lack adequate access to dental care.
“The treatment costs for dental decay in young children can be significant, especially if extensive dental procedures and general anesthesia in a hospital operating room is needed,” said Dr. Mark Desrosiers, CSDA President. “Fluoridation significantly eliminates the need for invasive dental procedures by preventing tooth decay and cavities that can lead to a number of bigger health risks and expensive visits to the dentist.”
Since tooth decay and the development of cavities disproportionately affect children from low-income households, state Medicaid programs oftentimes reimburse the cost for care. However, studies show that Medicaid-eligible children in communities without fluoridated water were three times more likely than Medicaid-eligible children in communities with fluoridated water to receive dental treatment in a hospital operating room, and the cost of dental treatment per eligible child was approximately twice as high.
An April 2000 study by The Journal of Dental Research found the use of fluoride in the past 40 years has been the primary factor in saving $40 billion in oral health care costs in the United States. Also, water fluoridation has been recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th Century.
“Community water fluoridation is a cost-effective, safe and healthy way to prevent tooth decay,” Desrosiers said. “The CSDA urges elected officials and community leaders to promote and continue community water fluoridation in Connecticut.”
More than 100 national and international health, service and professional organizations also recognize the public health benefits of community water fluoridation for preventing dental decay to include the American Dental Association, American Medical Association, Institute of Medicine, U.S. Public Health Service, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO).