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Community Water Fluoridation Program

The Oklahoma State Department of Health supports community water fluoridation and recognizes the practice as safe, cost-effective and beneficial to all who drink and use the water. For more than 65 years, fluoridated water has resulted in a remarkable decline in the prevalence and severity of dental decay. Studies prove that even today, the adjustment of fluoride in drinking water reduces dental decay by 20-40 percent.

It is the ideal public health measure because no compliance is required - just drink and use the water. Beverages and foods processed in fluoridated communities benefit all who consume these products. Widespread community water fluoridation prevents cavities and saves money, both for families and the health care system. For most cities, every $1 invested in water fluoridation saves $38 in dental treatment costs.

The fluoridation program is unique because fluoride is added to the water supply solely to reduce dental decay. The addition of fluoride to a water supply does not change the taste, color, odor, or cause any other such changes to water. The only change is the reduction of dental disease for children as well as adults. Everyone should know that oral health is integral to overall health, and a key component to quality of life.

It is recommended that all applicable public water systems in Oklahoma be fluoridated to the optimal level for oral health. The health department dental program continues to have the major promotional role, with assistance from the Oklahoma Dental Association, academic institutions, and health advocacy groups. The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality is the regulatory agency.

In 2012, an Oklahoma Community Water Fluoridation Plan was developed.

For more information on community water fluoridation, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Dental Association, and The Campaign for Dental Health websites. There is an interactive program on the CDC site, My Water's Fluoride, where you can check the fluoridation status of your community. A number of researchers and health organizations have publicly spoken about the scientific evidence supporting fluoridation. These links can be accessed on the Web Addresses for Additional Dental Information in the left navigation pane.

Oklahoma Community Water Fluoridation Brochure

Status of Water Fluoridation in Oklahoma  (map)

Oklahoma State Board of Health Resolution:

60th Anniversary of Community Water Fluoridation
and Oral Health in Oklahoma

Oklahoma State Board of Health
February 10, 2005

WHEREAS, the fluoridation of drinking water has been proven safe and effective in reducing dental decay and is cited as one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th century by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and

WHEREAS, state and national medical, dental, and public health organizations endorse and recommend optimally fluoridated drinking water for the prevention of tooth decay, and

WHEREAS, a recent oral health needs assessment of Oklahoma third grade children, jointly conducted by the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the University of Oklahoma Colleges of Dentistry and Public Health, found that  (a) 69.4% of children have dental caries experience,  (b) 40.2% of children have untreated dental decay,  (c) only 37.2% of children have dental sealants, and  (d) the average third grade child has approximately 2.8 teeth that are decayed or have been decayed, and

WHEREAS, community water fluoridation is one of the most cost-effective public health preventive measures available, and for every dollar spent on community water fluoridation, up to $38.00 is saved in dental treatment costs, and

WHEREAS, community water fluoridation benefits both children and adults regardless of income level or access to care, and can result in up to a 40% reduction of dental caries, and

WHEREAS, 2005 marks the 60th anniversary of community water fluoridation in America, therefore

BE IT RESOLVED, that the Oklahoma State Board of Health:

1.        Recognizes 2005 as the 60th anniversary of community water fluoridation in America, and proclaims this event as a significant achievement in the history of public health and preventive dentistry,

2.        Recommends that all public water systems in Oklahoma be optimally fluoridated to provide this cost-effective oral disease prevention measure to residents throughout Oklahoma,

3.        Strongly urges that state and local government officials move in the direction of providing this health and cost saving benefit for their citizens if that is not already the case,

4.        Suggests that Turning Point organizations consider this public health measure on their agenda,

5.        Recommends that other effective oral health preventive programs of [a] dental education and tobacco use prevention, and [b] regular clinical dental care (including dental sealants and topical fluoride treatments) should also be emphasized and actively promoted, in addition to water fluoridation, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Oklahoma State Board of Health recommends and supports good oral health for all Oklahoma residents.

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