Fluoridation for preventing and reducing tooth decay

Fluoridation for preventing and reducing tooth decay

Community water fluoridation is an effective, safe and affordable way to prevent and reduce tooth decay for everyone.

Key points to remember about community water fluoridation

  • community water fluoridation is an effective, safe and affordable way to prevent and reduce tooth decay for everyone
  • overwhelming evidence from decades of having community water fluoridation is that it is safe

What are the facts about community water fluoridation?

It's effective

  • 40 percent less tooth decay on average for children in fluoridated areas shown by the most recent national New Zealand study
  • numerous studies have shown that children and adults living in areas with community water fluoridation have significantly less tooth decay than those living in non fluoridated areas

It's safe

  • overwhelming evidence from decades of having community water fluoridation is that it is safe

'It is absolutely clear that at doses used in New Zealand to adjust the natural level to one that is consistent with beneficial effects (0.7-1.0mg/litre), there is no risk from fluoride in the water'
Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, Chief Science Advisor, Office of the Prime Minister's Science Advisory Committee.

It's affordable

There is strong evidence that community water fluoridation is cost-effective – saving much more in dental costs for individuals than it costs to run fluoridation programmes.

  • $2.60- approximate cost of fluoridation per person per year
  • $250 - cost of a single filling for an adult
  • for every dollar that is spent on water fluoridation, $9 are saved in dental care costs
  • some of these savings are seen by the health system, but it is mostly individual New Zealanders who benefit - paying for fewer fillings and tooth extractions1

'Community water fluoridation is a very cost-effective way to provide the dental health benefits of fluoride to everyone in a community. If fluoridation is removed communities can expect higher levels of tooth decay with potentially higher costs both for individuals and the health system in treating that decay'
Dr Robyn Haisman-Welsh, Chief Dental Officer, Ministry of Health.

1Sapere Research Group, 2015

Reproduced from a Community water fluoridation pamphlet. Ministry of Health. September 2013. https://www.fluoridefacts.govt.nz/node/24#brochure [Accessed 24/09/2018]

This page last reviewed 24 September 2018.
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