Celebrating 75 years of improved oral health

Community water fluoridation is hailed as one of the greatest public health achievements of the last century. It has proven to be a low-cost, effective and equitable way to prevent cavities for everyone regardless of age, income, race or ethnicity.

To celebrate 75 years of improved oral health because of fluoridated water, eight former Chief Dental Officers of the US Public Health Services issued a statement reiterating their strong support for community water fluoridation. Included in the statement are these quotes:

  • “More than 50 years of scientific research has found that people living in communities with fluoridated water have healthier teeth and fewer cavities”
  • “Community water fluoridation continues to be the most cost-effective, equitable and safe means to provide protection from tooth decay in a community.”
  • “Community water fluoridation is the great equalizer in prevention of dental caries because all individuals regardless of income or education are able to access their public tap water.”

Nationwide, 73% of US residents have access to fluoridated drinking water while only 56% of Washington residents have access to fluoride in their community water systems. Community water fluoridation is an important tool to overcome health disparities since lower-income people and communities of color disproportionately suffer from preventable tooth decay. Children have difficulty eating, learning and sleeping with painful cavities. It’s hard to find or keep a job if you’re missing teeth or your mouth is throbbing.

Poor oral health is also linked to heart disease, diabetes complications and respiratory illnesses, all risk factors for COVID-19. The bottom line is oral health is essential to overall health and to health equity.

Visit WashingtonWaterFluoridation.org to learn more about community water fluoridation and to see a list of partners from across the state who support ensuring that more people in our state receive the health benefits of fluoridated water.