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Water fluoridation highlighted in CDC report for reducing tooth decay

August 12, 2016

By Michelle Manchir

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a report issued in August highlights water fluoridation as one of more than a dozen community-wide approaches that achieve lasting impact on health outcomes.

The CDC’s Hi-5 (or Health Impact in 5 Years) Initiative highlights non-clinical, community-wide approaches that have evidence reporting positive health impacts, results within five years and cost effectiveness and/or cost savings over the lifetime of the population or earlier.

“Interventions that address the conditions in the places where we live, learn, work and play have the greatest potential impact on our health,” the CDC says in describing the Hi-5 list.

Water fluoridation is listed alongside initiatives including early childhood education and public transportation systems as an intervention addressing the social determinants of health.

“Drinking fluoridated water keeps teeth strong and reduces tooth decay by approximately 25 percent in children and adults,” the CDC writes. “By preventing tooth decay, community water fluoridation has been shown to save money, both for families and the health care system.”

The water fluoridation recognition builds on a previous recommendation of community water fluoridation from the Community Preventive Services Task Force as published in The Guide to Community Preventive Services.  The guide is a resource to aid community decision makers in choosing programs and policies to improve health and prevent disease in their communities. The task force recommended fluoridation “based on strong evidence of effectiveness in reducing dental caries across populations.”

To read more about Hi-5, visit CDC.gov/policy/hst/hi5.

For more information about fluoride and community water fluoridation, including resources from the ADA, visit ADA.org/fluoride.