Breaking News! Water Fluoridation Helps Reduce Decay in U.S. Kids and Teens

Posted & filed under Children's Oral Health and Fluoride, Facts about Fluoride, Fluoride and Public Health.

A new analysis has found that community water fluoridation (CWF) reduces decay by as much as 30-39% in children’s baby teeth (primary dentition) and by 12-24% in permanent teeth. The analysis was complex. It merged National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) results with Water Fluoridation Reporting System (WFRS) data and ran multivariate analyses with binary and continuous fluoridation variables. Here’s a link so you can read all about it: Water Fluoridation and Dental Caries in U.S. Children and Adolescents.

Breaking news? Well, not really. After all, we have known that fluoride prevents tooth decay since it was discovered by Frederick McKay over 100 years ago. Yes, 100 years ago. And since that time, as cities and towns have adopted the practice of adjusting the level of fluoride in the water system, we have seen significant, measurable decreases in both childhood and adult dental disease.

Some people question whether fluoridation is still needed given the increasing availability of dental products with added fluoride and preventive clinical services like sealants. Yet, the findings of this study are consistent with those of earlier studies, demonstrating that community water fluoridation has continued to provide a benefit on top of other preventive measures.

Dental decay is unfortunately still very common. Children and adolescents do not learn and thrive when dental pain prevents them from eating and sleeping well. (That’s not breaking news either.) And, although it’s easy to forget, for some children, especially young children, fluoridated water is the only available prevention.

Good oral health is essential to children’s overall health and well-being. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Campaign for Dental Health work hard to promote and defend this important public health measure. And that’s also why we continue to share the evidence that water fluoridation helps reduce decay in kids, teens and adults.