e-mail Print Share

CDC corrects fluoridation statistics

September 19, 2016

by Michelle Manchir

Atlanta — The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention in September revised its national fluoridation statistics.

In April, the CDC had reported that nearly 74.7 percent of the U.S.  population on community water supplies — or about 214.2 million people — received fluoridated water in 2014. However, because some populations that were served by consecutive water systems serving multiple counties were counted twice, the number was incorrect.

In 2014, 74.4 percent, or 211.4 million people, on community water supplies received the benefit of fluoridated water, the CDC said.

In explaining the discrepancy, the CDC says on its website, “This calculation error resulted in states having a higher population count for people receiving fluoridated water. A consecutive water system purchases wholesale water from an adjacent water system. Very few consecutive water systems serve people in different counties. For the few states where this is a factor, the changes to the column, ‘persons receiving fluoridated water,’ were small. However, there are more consecutive water systems in Connecticut and New York, so the changes in those two states were larger and are noted in their state fluoridation percentage calculations and in the state rankings.”

The CDC issues updated fluoridation statistics every two years. The 2014 numbers are the most recently released figures.

While the percentage was corrected downward, the number of people in the U.S. that enjoy the decay-preventing benefit of fluoridation continues to grow.  Approximately 700,000 more people enjoyed the benefits of fluoridation at the end of 2014 (211.4 million) than was reported in 2012 (210.7 million.)

The CDC named water fluoridation one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century because of its contribution to the dramatic decline in tooth decay.

The ADA continues to endorse community water fluoridation as a safe, beneficial, cost-effective and socially equitable public health measure for preventing tooth decay in children and adults. For more information, visit ADA.org/fluoride.