The British Columbia Dental Association (BCDA) supports community water fluoridation as a safe and effective way to prevent tooth decay. Approximately 45% of Canadians benefit from water fluoridation.
When voting on whether or not to include water fluoridation in your community, the BCDA encourages you to get the facts on fluoride in order to make an informed choice for the dental health of the entire community.
It is safe.
The safety and effectiveness of water fluoridation has been frequently studied and continues to be supported by current science. Canadian and international studies agree that water that was fluoridated at optimum levels does not cause adverse health effects.
It is effective.
Water fluoridation has been effectively used in communities throughout Canada for over 50 years and remains important in its ability to reduce the incidence of dental decay.
“Even in an era with widespread availability of fluoride from other sources, studies prove water fluoridation continues to be effective in reducing dental decay by 20-40%.” (American Dental Association)
In addition, it is a cost effective preventive public health measure.
A US Center for Disease Control study estimates that every $1 US invested in community water fluoridation saved $38US in avoided costs for dental treatment.
It ensures the entire community receives the dental health benefits of fluoride.
Water fluoridation ensures that all members of the community, regardless of age, education, and social-economic status, are protected against tooth decay. It is particularly beneficial to children, seniors and other vulnerable individuals who may not have access to other preventive measures, such as regular dental care or even other fluoride products.
Poor oral health can cause pain, restrict diet and lead to social isolation, thereby negatively impacting quality of life.
- Early childhood caries (ECC), a disease that damages the structure of the teeth, is far more common than any other childhood illness. A 2013 report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information shows that severe tooth decay is the leading reason why preschoolers have day surgery each year.
- The 2010 Canadian Health Measures Survey estimates 2.26 million school days are lost annually due to dental visits or dental sick-days.
Data collected on children enrolled in public schools in Dorval, Quebec, between 2003 and 2006 indicate that the percentage of kindergarten children at high risk of developing dental caries doubled in the two-year period after water fluoridation halted in 2003. (Water Fluoridation: An Analysis of the Health Benefits and Risks-Scientific Advisory)
- Seniors are also at a high risk of developing decay, particularly root decay. Chronic health conditions, increased use of medications and physical and cognitive difficulties can begin to impact a senior's oral health and ability to support their basic daily mouth care needs.