Public Release: 

Water fluoridation confirmed to prevent dental decay in US children and adolescents

International & American Associations for Dental Research

Alexandria, Va., USA - The fluoridation of America's drinking water was among the great public health achievements of the twentieth century but there is a scarcity of studies from the last three decades investigating the impact of water fluoridation on dental health in the U.S. population. A recent study "Water fluoridation and dental caries in U.S. children and adolescents," published in the Journal of Dental Research, evaluated associations between the availability of community water fluoridation and dental caries (decay) experience in U.S. child and adolescent populations.

In this large study, county-level estimates of the percentage of population with community water fluoridation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 's Water Fluoridation Reporting System were merged with dental examination data from 10 years of National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (1999-2004 and 2011-2014).

The analysis showed that U.S. children and adolescents with greater access to fluoridated drinking water were less likely to experience dental caries. Counties in which over 75% of the population had access to community water fluoridation saw a 30% reduction in dental caries experience in the primary dentition, and a 12% reduction in dental caries experience in the permanent dentition, compared to counties in which less than 75% had access to community water fluoridation.

The findings are consistent with evidence from the last half-century showing that community water fluoridation continues to provide a substantial dental health benefit for U.S. children and adolescents. The current study boosts the evidence by showing that the benefit is most pronounced early in life, in the primary teeth of 2-8 year olds.

"This study confirms previously reported findings and provides additional evidence in support of water fluoridation as a core public health intervention promoting oral health," said Maria Ryan, President of the American Association for Dental Research. "AADR supports community water fluoridation as a safe and effective, evidence-based intervention for the prevention of dental caries and this report further adds to that evidence base."

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Authors of the study "Water fluoridation and dental caries in U.S. children and adolescents" are Gary Slade and Anne Sanders from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, N.C., USA, William Grider, U.S. Census Bureau, Suitland, Md., USA and William Maas, Dental Public Health Consultant, North Bethesda, Md., USA.

For media requests, please contact IADR Marketing & Communications Manager Elise Bender at ebender@iadr.org.

About the Journal of Dental Research

The IADR/AADR Journal of Dental Research is a multidisciplinary journal dedicated to the dissemination of new knowledge in all sciences relevant to dentistry and the oral cavity and associated structures in health and disease. At 0.02225, the JDR holds the highest Eigenfactor® Score of all dental journals publishing original research. The JDR ranks #1 in Article Influence and #2 in the Two-Year Journal Impact Factor rankings with a rating of 4.755 according to the 2016 Journal Citation Reports® (Clarivate Analytics, 2017).

About the International Association for Dental Research

The International Association for Dental Research (IADR) is a nonprofit organization with over 10,500 individual members worldwide, dedicated to: (1) advancing research and increasing knowledge for the improvement of oral health worldwide, (2) supporting and representing the oral health research community, and (3) facilitating the communication and application of research findings. To learn more, visit http://www.iadr.org. The American Association for Dental Research (AADR) is the largest Division of IADR, with 3,400 members in the United States. To learn more, visit http://www.iadr.org/aadr.

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