U.S. surgeon general endorses community water fluoridation

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, today marked the 70th anniversary of community water fluoridation by reiterating his endorsement of the program.

Dr. Murthy called the effort "one of the most cost effective, equitable, and safe measures communities can take to prevent tooth decay and improve oral health" in a video released on December 22. "Over the past 70 years community water fluoridation has contributed to dramatic declines in both the prevention and severity of tooth decay," he said.

Dr. Murthy noted that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers community water fluoridation among the 10 best public health achievements of the 20th century.

"It is the best method for delivering fluoride to all members of the community," he noted. "Fluoride's effec­tiveness in preventing tooth decay extends throughout one's life, resulting in fewer -- and less severe -- cavities."

The program has resulted in better dental health for all generations since its introduction in Grand Rapids, MI, in 1945, Dr Murthy said. Progress in dental health has been "undeniable" because of community water fluoridation, he noted, but added, "we still have work to do because we know that so much of our health is still determined by ZIP code rather than genetic code."

Dr. Murthy praised community leaders and advocates of community fluoridation who have fought to bring the program to all U.S. communities. "Today we applaud their efforts, and we will not rest until every community is equipped with the tools they need to help their residents live healthy, happy lives," he said.

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