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Community Water Fluoridation Model

Community water fluoridation is a public health intervention to prevent tooth decay. One of the Healthy People 2020 oral health objectives is to increase the proportion of the U.S. population served by community water systems with optimally fluoridated water. Water fluoridation prevents tooth decay by ensuring that teeth have frequent contact with low levels of fluoride. Studies have shown that water fluoridation can reduce tooth decay by 25 percent over a person’s lifetime. Rural populations are less likely to have access to adequately fluoridated drinking water. Few rural oral health programs have focused on community water fluoridation.

Implementation considerations

The local community can become the driving force to promote fluoridation and oral health. Successful program have active participation from professionals responsible for water policy as well as oral health professionals. Water fluoridation programs may encounter policy, technical, and logistical challenges.

Resources to Learn More

Fluoride Legislative User Information Database (FLUID)
The Fluoride Legislative User Information Database (FLUID) is a comprehensive database containing historical information on legal cases decided by U.S. courts and current information on federal and state policies regarding community water fluoridation. Local policies that affect significant U.S. population bases are added over time.

Recommendations for Using Fluoride to Prevent and Control Dental Caries in the United States
Presents recommendations intended to guide dental providers, other healthcare providers, policymakers, and public health officials on using fluoride to protect against dental caries. Also presents recommendations regarding the efficient use of resources.
Organization(s): The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Date: 8/2001

Resource Highlights: Focus on Fluoridated Community Water
This collection of selected resources offers information about fluoridated community water.
Organization(s): National Maternal and Child Health Oral Health Resource Center
Date: 9/2011

State and Community Best Practice Approach Examples: Community Water Fluoridation
The Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors provides state and community best practice approach examples on community water fluoridation.
Organization(s): Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors

Water Fluoridation and Dental Health Indicators in Rural and Urban Areas of the United States
Findings from this report suggest the need to improve access to adequately fluoridated public water for rural populations.
Author(s): Hendryx, M., Weiner, R.C., & Gurka, M.
Organization(s): West Virginia Rural Health Research Center
Date: 1/2012