Return on Investment
In addition to being interventions effective in promoting oral health, community water fluoridation and dental sealant programs also provide a positive return on investment.
Community Water Fluoridation
- One year of providing fluoridated water in the United States is estimated to save $6.5 billion in averted direct and indirect dental treatment costs.1
- Communities served by fluoridated water save an average of $32 per person a year by avoiding treatment for cavities.1
- The return on investment for community water fluoridation varies with size of the community, increasing as the community size increases, and is cost-saving even for small communities. Communities of 1,000 or more people see an average estimated return on investment of $20 for every $1 spent on water fluoridation.1
School Sealant Programs
- Delivering dental sealants to children at high risk for cavities can be cost-saving to Medicaid by averting more expensive treatment costs.2
- School sealant programs that serve students at high risk for cavities can become cost-saving in 2 years and save $11.70 per sealed tooth over 4 years.3
- School sealant programs could save up to $300 million in averted costs by providing sealants to the 6.5 million children from low-income families who need them.3
- The health care system could save up to $100 million each year if dental offices performed screenings for diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Medical-dental integration between oral health and chronic disease prevention programs benefits patients and saves money.4
Featured Return on Investment Infographics
- O’Connell JM, Rockwell J, Ouellet J, Tomar SL, Maas W. Costs and Savings Associated with Community Water Fluoridation in the United States. Health Affairs. 2016. 1;35(12):2224-2232. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27920310external icon
- Griffin SO, Naavaal S, Scherrer CR, Patel M, & Chattopadhay S. Evaluation of school-based dental sealant programs: A Community Guide systematic economic review. Am J of Prev Med. 2017;52(3):407-415.
- Centers for Disease Prevention and Control. Vital signs: dental sealant use and untreated tooth decay among U.S. school-aged children. MMWR. 2016;65(41):1141–1145.
- Nasseh K, Greenberg B, Vujicic M, Glick M. The effect of chairside chronic disease screenings by oral health professionals on health care dollars. Am J Public Health. 2014;104(4):744–750.