Magazine article The Nation's Health

Water Fluoridation Approaches Healthy People 2010 Objectives

Magazine article The Nation's Health

Water Fluoridation Approaches Healthy People 2010 Objectives

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

After making the list of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th century, community water fluoridation has accomplished yet another feat-- about 184 million people living in the United States now have access to fluoridated water.

On July 11, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released a study finding that in 2006 more than 69 percent of the nation's communities had access to fluoridated water, up from almost 66 percent in 1992.

The promising statistics come after more than 60 years of recognizing fluoridation as a beneficial method of preventing and even reversing tooth decay in susceptible populations such as young children and older adults. Although fluoride is a naturally occurring compound found in the environment, concentrations must be adjusted in many communities to reach optimum levels. According to CDC's Guide to Community Preventive Services, a nearly 30 percent decrease in tooth decay is a result of implementing community fluoridation.

Nevertheless, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among children, although many people are unaware of the problem, said APHA Oral Health Section Chair Howard Pollick, BDS, MPH.

According to CDC, a fourth of children between ages 2-5 experience tooth decay, expanding to 50 percent by the time they reach age 11. However, tooth decay does not end with childhood; one-third of adults also have the disease. …

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