WHO and World Health Assembly

World Health Assembly resolution calling for technical advice and assistance on water fluoridation to be provided to Member States

At the highest international levels of health policy-making, the World Health Organisation supports water fluoridation where it would be practicable to introduce it.  In 1978, the World Health Assembly passed a resolution requesting the Director-General to “continue to provide technical advice and assistance to Member States in the prevention and control of dental caries by the adjustment of the fluoride content of public water supplies to the optimal level.” (1)  This policy remains in force today.

WHO report says water fluoridation should be introduced where techically feasible and socially acceptable

In 1994, a report of a World Health Organisation Expert Committee on Oral Health Status and Fluoride Use commented that: “…water fluoridation has been endorsed by more than 150 science and health organisations, including the Fédération Dentaire Internationale (FDI), the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) and WHO”. (2)    One of the 1994 WHO report’s key conclusions was that “community water fluoridation is safe and cost-effective and should be introduced and maintained wherever socially acceptable and feasible”.

World Health Assembly says water fluoridation benefits all residents regardless of their social or economic status

In 2000, the 53rd World Health Assembly endorsed a global strategy for oral disease prevention and committed itself again to promoting the benefits of water fluoridation: “Community water fluoridation is effective in preventing dental caries in both children and adults. Water fluoridation benefits all residents served by community water supplies regardless of their social or economic status.” (3)

Subsequently, in 2003 the WHO’s World Oral Health Report affirmed that “there is clear evidence that long-term exposure to an optimal level of fluoride results is diminishing levels of caries in both child and adult populations”. (4)

  1. World Health Assembly (1978): Fluoridation and dental health.  Resolution: WHA31.50. Geneva.  World Health Organisation

  2. World Health Organisation Expert Committee on Oral Health Status and Fluoride Use (1994):    Fluorides and Oral Health. WHO Technical Report Series no. 846.  Geneva.  World Health Organisation.

  3. World Health Assembly (2000): Strategies and approaches in oral disease prevention and health promotion.  Resolution: WHA53.17.  Geneva. World Health Organisation.

  4. World Health Organisation (2003): The World Oral Health Report 2003.  Geneva. World Health Organisation.