Cost Savings of Community Water Fluoridation
published studies conducted by CDC reaffirm the benefits of
community water fluoridation. Together, the studies continue to show that
widespread community water fluoridation prevents cavities and saves money,
both for families and the health care system. In fact, the economic
analysis found that for larger communities of more than 20,000 people
where it costs about 50 cents per person to fluoridate the water, every $1
invested in this preventive measure yields approximately $38 savings in dental treatment
"An Economic Evaluation of Community Water Fluoridation"1 presents the
results of an economic analysis of water fluoridation under modern
conditions of widespread availability of fluorides. Researchers from CDC
and Terry College of Business, University of Georgia, found that under
typical conditions, the annual per-person cost savings in fluoridated
communities ranged from $16 in very small communities (<5,000) to
nearly $19 for larger communities (>20,000). The analysis takes into
account the costs of installing and maintaining necessary equipment and
operating water plants, the expected effectiveness of fluoridation,
estimates of expected cavities in non-fluoridated communities, treatment of cavities, and time lost visiting the dentist for treatment.
A related analysis
found that children living in non-fluoridated communities in states that
are highly fluoridated receive partial benefits of fluoridation from
eating foods and drinking beverages processed in fluoridated
communities. This second study, "Quantifying the Diffused Benefit from
Water Fluoridation"2 reports that 12-year-old
children living in states where more than half of the communities have
fluoridated water have 26% fewer decayed tooth surfaces per year than
12-year-old children living in states where less than one-quarter of the
communities are fluoridated.
community water fluoridation prevents cavities even in neighboring
communities that are not fluoridated," according to Dr. Susan
Griffin, the study’s main author. "For instance, a 12-year-old
child who has lived in a non-fluoridated community in a highly fluoridated
state would typically have one fewer cavity than a child in a
- Griffin SO, Jones K, Tomar SL. An economic evaluation of community
water fluoridation. J Publ Health Dent 2001;61(2):78–86.
View abstract on PubMed.
- Griffin SO, Gooch BF, Lockwood SA, Tomar SL. Quantifying the
diffused benefit from water fluoridation in the United States.
Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 2001;29:120–129.
View abstract on PubMed.
Date last reviewed: September 1, 2009
Date last updated: September 1, 2009
Division of Oral Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and