In 1945 Grand Rapids, Michigan became the world's first city to adjust the level of fluoride in its water supply. Since then, fluoridation has improved the oral health tremendously of tens of millions of Americans. Community water fluoridation is the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has proclaimed community water fluoridation as one of 10 greatest health achievements of the 20th century. About 74.6% of the U.S. population served by public water systems receive the benefit of fluoridated water.
Community water fluoridation is simply the adjustment of the existing, naturally occurring fluoride levels in drinking water to an optimal level for the prevention of tooth decay. Water that has been fortified with fluoride is similar to iodine in table salt, fortifying milk with Vitamin D or cereals and breads with folic acid.
For almost 70 years, studies have shown that fluoridation of community water supplies is safe and effective in preventing dental decay in both children and adults. Just by drinking tap water, children and adults can benefit from fluoridation's cavity protection whether they are at home, work or school.
Today, studies still prove water fluoridation continues to be effective in reducing tooth decay by at least 25%, even in an era with widespread availability of fluoride from other sources, like fluoride toothpaste.
Fluoridation is one public health program that can save you money. You can have a lifetime of fluoridated water for less than the cost of one dental filling.
The American Dental Association continues to endorse fluoridation of community water supplies as safe and effective for preventing tooth decay. This support has been the Association's position since policy was first adopted in 1950. The ADA's policies regarding community water fluoridation are based on the best available science. The ADA, along with state and local dental societies, continues to work with federal, state and local agencies to increase the number of communities benefiting from water fluoridation.
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