Surgeon General's Statement on Community Water Fluoridation, 1995
Since the 1950s, each U.S. Public Health Service Surgeon General has
committed his or her support for community water fluoridation. Below is
the most recent endorsement supporting community water fluoridation from
Acting Surgeon General, Audrey F. Manley,
December 14, 1995—Nineteen ninety-five marked the 50th anniversary of the initiation of
community water fluoridation in the United States. Data consistently have
indicated that water fluoridation is the most cost-effective, practical,
and safe means for reducing the occurrence of tooth decay in a community.
Water fluoridation continues to be the cornerstone of community oral
disease prevention. The benefits of fluoridation are available, on
average, for little more than $0.50 per person per year, and even less, in
large communities. Today, 62 percent of the population served by public
water supplies have access to adequate levels of fluoride in their
drinking water. It has been demonstrated that the action of fluoride in
preventing tooth decay provides a benefit to children and adults
throughout their lives. The health benefits of fluoridation include a
reduction in the frequency and severity of dental decay, a decrease in the
need for tooth extractions and fillings, a reduction in pain and suffering
associated with tooth decay, and the obvious elevation of self-esteem that
goes with improved functioning and appearance.
As we look ahead to the
next century, we can be thankful for the progress that has been made in
improving the nation's oral health, but we can not be complacent. Although
the ravages of dental decay have decreased in recent years, there still
remains a large segment of the population afflicted by this disease.
Ongoing efforts to reduce the burden of dental decay in our population are
required, particularly for those groups demonstrated to be at higher risk
of dental decay or with inadequate access to professional dental care.
Continuing attention to assuring the quality of fluoridation activities by
water suppliers and state and local health authorities is essential.
Ultimately, optimizing the public's oral health through community water
fluoridation will require a concerted effort by public officials, health
professionals, and the public.
Audrey F. Manley,
Acting Surgeon General
Date last reviewed: August 24, 2009
Date last updated: August 24, 2009
Division of Oral Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and