Is water fluoridation a cost-effective means to prevent tooth decay? Yes.
Data from scientific studies continue to demonstrate that fluoridation has significant lifelong decay-preventing effects and has consistently proven to be the most cost-effective means of preventing tooth decay, regardless of socioeconomic status. The annual cost to fluoridate a community averages $.51 per person per year, depending on community size, labor costs, and type of chemicals and equipment used. (Garcia, 1989). This figure amounts to less than the cost of one filling. Direct and indirect benefits are apparent. The need for restorative dental care is lower in fluoridated communities. Also, there is a reduction in pain, healthier-looking teeth, and fewer sick days from time lost from school or work due to dental disorders or visits to the dentist. The cost of treating dental disease is paid by all taxpayers, not just the affected individual, through publicly funded dental programs provided by health departments, welfare clinics, health insurance premiums, and the military.
Garcia, A.I. 1989. Caries incidence and costs of preventive programs. J. Public Health Dent. 49 (Special Iss): 259-71.
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