US Community Preventive Services Task Force systematic review (2013)

US Community Preventive Services Task Force systematic review (2013)

In 2013 a US Community Preventive Service Task Force published a systematic review of the worldwide evidence on the effectiveness of water fluoridation. (1)  This  updated an earlier Task Force review published in 2002 (sometimes known as the Truman review).

Having re-assessed the data available before and after 2002, the new Task Force reaffirmed the conclusion of the previous review that there is strong evidence that consumption of fluoridated water is effective in preventing tooth decay. (2)

Substantially lower rates of tooth decay in fluoridated areas

The 2013 report states: “Evidence shows that the prevalence of dental caries is substantially lower in communities with community water fluoridation.”

It adds: “Community water fluoridation has the potential to reduce the incidence of caries and save associated costs for future restorative treatment.  In addition, people who live in non-fluoridated areas may receive ‘halo’ benefits when they consume food and beverages processed in fluoridated areas.”

1. US Community Preventive Services Task Force (2013): Preventing Dental Caries – Community Water Fluoridation.

2. Truman BI, Gooch BF, Sulemana I, Gift HC, Horowitz AM et al (2002): Reviews of evidence on interventions to prevent dental caries, oral and pharyngeal cancers, and sports-related craniofacial injuries. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 23: 21-54.

KEY FINDINGS

1. Strong evidence that water fluoridation is effective in preventing tooth decay

2. A potential for saving costs associated with restorative treatment 

3. A ‘halo effect’ for people who live in non-fluoridated areas when they consume food and beverages made elsewhere with fluoridated water