Fluoridation in New York State: Benefits

What are the benefits of community water fluoridation?

Fluoride added to community drinking water to reach a concentration of 0.7 to 1.2 parts per million (0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter of water) has repeatedly been shown to be an effective method of preventing tooth decay.3 Because community water fluoridation benefits everyone in the community, regardless of age and socioeconomic status, fluoridation provides protection against tooth decay in populations with limited access to prevention and treatment services. The Task Force on Community Preventive Services, a national independent, nonfederal, multidisciplinary task force appointed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), conducted a systematic review of studies of community water fluoridation. They found that, in communities that initiated fluoridation, the decrease in childhood tooth decay was almost 30% over 3–12 years of follow-up.3 Stopping fluoridation was associated with an increase in tooth decay.

Is New York State reaching its Healthy People 2010 objectives?

Healthy People 2010 is a statement of national health objectives designed to identify the most significant preventable threats to health and to establish national goals to reduce these threats. It is designed to achieve two overarching goals: (1) increase quality and years of healthy life and (2) eliminate health disparities among different segments of the population. Because of the effectiveness of water fluoridation in preventing tooth decay, the Healthy People program has objectives specific to water fluoridation.5 Listed below are three of those related objectives and the status in New York State regarding each objective .

Objective 1: Increase the percentage of persons on public water receiving fluoridated water to 75%.
Status: New York State is near this objective as 70% of the population on public water receives fluoridated water.
 
Objective 2: Reduce the percentage of adults 65+ (65 years and older) who have lost all their teeth to 20%.
Status: New York State has reached this objective as only about 17% percent of New York State's 65+ population
had lost all of their permanent teeth.4
 
Objective 3: Reduce the percentage of 3rd grade children with tooth decay to 42%.
Status: New York State has to make progress to reach this objective asapproximately 54% of 3rd grade children had experienced
tooth decay.6 Furthermore, the disparity between higher and lower income children are noticeable.

How can the public know if a community water system is fluoridated?

Fluoride information is included in the annual water quality report that is sent to all consumers. This information can also be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's web page called My Water's Fluoride. The web address is: http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/MWF/Index.asp or go to http://www.cdc.gov/. Click on Health Promotion, Oral Health, then My Water's Fluoride.

The web page displays a map of the U.S. Just click on New York State, then the county and locate the water supply by name. Information that is available:

  • Water System Name
  • PWS ID #
  • Population Served
  • Water Source
  • Is it Fluoridated?
  • Optimal Fluoride Concentration
  • Date Fluoridation Started
  • Contact Information
CDC's My Water's Fluoride Page3 with map

References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fluoridation of drinking water to prevent dental caries. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 48 (1999): 933–40.
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 2000.
  3. Truman BI, Gooch BF, Sulemana I, et al., and the Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Reviews of evidence on interventions to reduce dental caries, oral and pharyngeal cancers, and sports-related craniofacial injury. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 23 (2002, 1S): 1–84.
  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Oral Health. Preventing Cavities, Gum Disease, and Tooth Loss 2008. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2008.. http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/publications/aag/doh.htm
  5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Healthy People 2010. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2000. http://www.health.gov/healthypeople .
  6. New York State Department of Health. Bureau of Dental Health. The Impact of Oral Disease in New York State. December 2006.

For more information, contact:

Division of Oral Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
4770 Bufford Highway, NE, MSF-10
Atlanta, GA 30333
Phone: 770-488-6054
http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/index.htm
New York State Department of Health
Bureau of Dental Health
ESP, Tower Bldg, Room 542
Albany NY, 12237
Phone: 518-474-1961
http://www.nyhealth.gov/prevention/dental/
Bureau of Water Supply Protection
New York State Department of Health
547 River Street
Troy, New York, 12180-2216
Phone: (518) 402 7652
http://www.nyhealth.gov/environmental/water/drinking/